The Oldenburg is the Islands own supply ship, as well as being the principle means of travel to and from the Island. Around the North Devon coastline, she is a famous sight, known affectionately as the “Old and Buggered”, a wholly inaccurate yet playful reference. Undoubtedly, a lot of this misplaced reputation is due to the fact that the majority of visitors, not being familiar with the seas in any case, misunderstand the voyage, which crosses a challenging sea with a number of conflicting currents. The sailing is never going to be as smooth as a millpond.
I have a lot of affection for the ship: compared with similar vessels, she is extremely well maintained, not only in terms of her engineering, but also her housekeeping and shipshape condition. I think she really is a pretty craft, and she has a professional crew who take pride not only in her, but what they do, and themselves. I was always proud how smart they looked and acted, and would often hear visitors talk of them with real warmth and respect.
She has a lot of stylistic references to a period of not so long ago: reflecting her past working for the German State Railways, for whom she was built in 1958. It is inevitable that at some distant point in the future, she will be replaced, but there is plenty of life yet, particularly in view of the continued investment to not only ensure minimum standards of seaworthiness, but to exceed them with some margin. I hope she will be around for some time yet, she has become an icon in her own right.