A few weeks back, I became aware of a former Norwegian vessel that was truly enjoying the best of her retirement years in much warmer waters in South East Asia. The vessel I’m talking about used to be known as W300 - “Nornen” - of the Norwegian Coast Guard.
In her more exotic years, she has been refurbished in true “Pandaw”-style according to her new owners. The first thought that struck my mind was - yes, you guessed it…. former Coastal Steamer "Kong Olav". Just imagine, how wonderful would it have been if she had also been taken well care off, after she departed from Norway. Sadly, as we know, the former Hurtigrute arrived in Asia just in time to feel the worst of the 1997 financial crises, and never saw profitable use. Kong Olav was laid up - and remained laid up until there was nothing more to save.
“Nornen" however never encountered any financial crisis, and was instead refurbished to become a true gemstone of a vessel. She now actually looks so way better than her dull coast guard patrol-grey, almost like a classical luxury yacht. This is the way all classical ships should be taken care of - with evident love, meticulous care and inspiring future aspirations.
The company website also truly brags about her past, her present and other classical yachts like her:
The Andaman Explorer was built as the MV Atlantic Guard in 1963 in Norway as a Norwegian coast guard vessel. She is 61 meters long with her original Rolls Royce engines. The hull is built to 'ice class' with extra thick plates and she has the power to withstand north Atlantic storms or chases out to sea. Very handy when cruising in tropical waters!
She retired from coast guard duties in 1998 and was acquired by one Doctor Bogazzi, an Italian oligarch whose family owns the Carrara marble quarries. Dr Bogazzi lavished many a million on the ship, now renamed the MY Marina, completely refitting her with eleven very generous suites. Much of the ship is floored with Carrara marble, pleasantly cool under foot for those who go unshod.
In recent times she has belonged to a powerful shipping family based in Dubai who maintained the ship to a very high standard. She has now arrived in Thailand and under going redecoration in the Pandaw Style so the photos of the interiors we show here are as she is now and not as she will be when we have finished with her. The Andaman Explorer really is a sixties classic. The sort of plaything associated with Onassis, Jackie Kennedy and more glamorous times. There could be no vessel more appropriate for the exploration of South-East Asia's unknown coasts.
More images of the ship can be found on flickr (click here) and naturally, on the Pandaw website (click here). I especially recommend you all have a look at the flickr page mentioned above, and the images on that page… the interiors look absolutely fantastic, and most likely a far cry from her coast guard days.
Personally, I have always found it fascinating to follow a ships so-called “afterlife” - and naturally, I find it way more interesting when we are talking about passenger ships and not general cargo ships.