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The Euphrosyne Project

The name of MV Euphrosyne will mean much to those people, particularly British, who remember the New Hebrides prior to independence - an immaculate white vessel cruising slowly out of Vila harbour with the crew manning the side in the best traditions of the Royal Navy, stiffly at attention in number five dress, (all except the cook Stephen, whose ample figure made it difficult for him to stand properly to attention). On the bridge is the splendid Captain Leeth Nasak, in full control of his ship and of himself. For many years the Euphrosyne was used to convey the Resident British Commissioner and other government personnel around the islands of the New Hebrides in the South West Pacific.   The Euphrosyne was last used by the Residency to evacuate the British subjects on Santo during Jimmy Stephen’s abortive rebellion in 1980. But then on Independence day she was abandoned, to whatever fate the new government might assign to her.

 After a rather chequered career in Vanuatu Government service, she lay for some time unused and unclaimed in Port Vila. The Government no longer own any ships. Then in 1999, after swinging on a buoy in Vila for five years, by which time she was barely seaworthy, she was handed over to the Vanuatu Maritime College in Santo, where the work on restoration and refurbishment has begun. Funded by a European Union development project, the college is bringing her back to a seaworthy condition, after which she will be used as a training ship for their students.

Working together with the British High Commission in Port Vila, the British Friends of Vanuatu embarked on a joint project to equip the restored Euphrosyne with modern radar equipment.  This has now been obtained from Australia and installed on the vessel.  The overall cost of around £2,000 was met by a £600 contribution from the British High Commission in Port Vila, the balance being funded entirely by personal contributions from ex-British expatriate members of the BFoV association who served in Vanuatu prior to independence.

Euphrosyne II update report at 04.04.2002 - Restoration work on the Euphrosyne continues apace at the Maritime College in Santo, as the final fitting out and other improvements are made to the superstructure and engine housing of the vessel. The new radar equipment donated jointly by the British Friends of Vanuatu and the British High Commission will by now have been fitted into place. A new, stainless steel plaque commemorating the involvement of both in the history and the refurbishment of the vessel has been produced in the UK and is currently awaiting shipment to Vanuatu.  The commemorative plaque, etched in fine copperplate onto stainless steel, reads as follows:


Builders: MILL KRAFT BOAT YARD, Brisbane (1961)
For the British Resident Commissioner
New Hebrides

Commanding Officers:

Captain Harry Kirkwood R.N 1961 - 1966
CaptaiN Arthur Kalchichi 1967 - 1971
Captain LeIth Nasak 1972 - 1981
Captain Christopher Aru 1982 - 1987
Captain Soti William 1988 - 1993
Captain Belden Dudu 1994 - 1998

Handed over to the Government of Vanuatu
Independence Day
30 July 1980

Rebuilt and refitted 2002
The Vanuatu Maritime College

With the help of funds provided by:

L'Agençe Française De Développement
The British Government
The British Friends of Vanuatu

"Long God Yumi Stanap"