Il crepuscolo della dea: finisce dopo 31 anni il viaggio della LATO

SILENZIO.

Gia dicendo questo avremmo detto tutto, e non sarebbero necessari ulteriori commenti. Che dire, infatti, per ricordare una delle navi più significative della marina mercantile greca il giorno che ci abbandona, dopo 31 anni spesi tra l’Adriatico e l’Egeo, visitando tutti i porti principali dell’Adriatico (Ancona, Trieste, Bari, Igoumenitsa, Corfu, Patrasso), collegando Pireo ai due principali porti cretesi di Chania ed Heraklion, impegnata anche nei charter ad altre compagnie, rilanciando ed esprimendo all’ennesima potenza il concetto di “cruise ferry” che nasce a metà anni ’80 in Grecia grazie a Strintzis Lines, e che qua raggiunge forse l’espressione più completa, accompagnando anche all’elevatissima capacità passeggeri e servizi veramente degni di nota, prime assolute come la discoteca panoramica su due livelli, ben cinque bar al servizio dei 2000 passeggeri di capacità massima, uno ogni 400 passeggeri, una capacità di carico di ben due livelli di mezzi pesanti, 1.200 metri lineari a disposizione, tali da renderla la nave più capiente in servizio tra Italia e Grecia nel 1989, quando debutta tra Ancona e Patrasso via Corfu ed Igoumenitsa, prima nave di Anek Lines a venire impiegata fuori dalle linee per Creta, e, all’entrata in servizio e fino al 1992, quando è spodestata dalla EL. VENIZELOS, nave traghetto più grande dell’Adriatico, nave traghetto ammiraglia della flotta greca, nave ammiraglia di Anek Lines, nave traghetto più grande del Mediterraneo al momento dell’acquisto, nel 1987, anche se nel 1989, anno dell’entrata in servizio, viene spodestata di tale titolo dalla DANIELLE CASANOVA di SNCM Ferryterranee, oggi nota come MEDITERRANEE, tuttavia mantenendo il record di nave più lunga e battendola per la capacità di trasporto di mezzi pesanti.

Dopo la LATO, in Grecia non abbiamo più visto niente di paragonabile: non la EL. VENIZELOS che la sostituisce come ammiraglia della compagnia cretese, superiore in capacità passeggeri, maggiormente moderna, ma del tutto mancante della versatilità che era propria della giapponese più amata in Grecia, non l’elegantissima IONIAN ISLAND, nave indimenticabile ma maggiormente focalizzata sui passeggeri, esattamente come le rivali di Heraklion DAEDALUS e N. KAZANTZAKIS, o come le outsider RODANTHI, MARINA e DAME M. Nemmeno la gemella ai tempi della Taiheiyo Enkai Ferry, la EROTOKRITOS, arrivata dalle nostre parti tre anni dopo, comprata da Strintzis Lines e poi ceduta a Minoan Lines, ne oscura la luce, ricevendo modifiche molto meno invasive e rimanendo più orientata al trasporto dei mezzi pesanti, esattamente come era in Giappone. Figlie di altri tempi, invece, le giapponesi che sono venute dopo, le varie KRITI I e II di ANEK, le pur bellissime gemelle SOPHOCLES V. e LEFKA ORI, la nave che la sostituì in Giappone quando cominciò il suo viaggio per la Grecia, arrivata anch’essa qua nel 1998 come SUPERFERRY HELLAS, o la IONIAN VICTORY.

Ferma ormai dal 2014 con seri problemi al motore, già venduta da ANEK ai cantieri di demolizione, Marios Iliopoulos di Seajets ha tuttavia provato fino ad oggi a riportarla in linea, ipotizzando sia un suo impiego sulla ricca linea delle Cicladi da Pireo a Paros, Naxos e Santorini, sia verso Chios e Mytilene, e quando, l’8 novembre 2017, addirittura è stata sottoposta a lavori di carenaggio, il giorno in cui in Grecia si festeggia il mio onomastico, speravo veramente che sarebbe tornata. Così non è stato, troppo gravi i danni al glorioso MAN che l’ha spinta, assieme al suo motore gemello, per ben 40 anni, ed oggi è cominciato il viaggio verso la fine. Nella mia ultima trasferta greca, lo scorso aprile, sono riuscito a fotografarla l’ultima volta, prima di vedere le immagini che mai avrei voluto vedere.

Credo sarebbe bello parlare ancora della LATO, magari farla conoscere, descriverla, raccontarne la storia, ma in questo momento non me la sento. Si dice sempre che le navi hanno un’anima, che sono più del semplice acciaio, e se questo è vero, come penso, oggi ci saluta la mia anima gemella, per cui, così come ho iniziato quest’articolo, lo finisco, con il silenzio pieno di rispetto che merita una leggenda come la nave che porta il numero IMO 7394759, uno dei pochissimi che ricordo a memoria. Magari più avanti lo leggerete quest’articolo. Oggi salutiamo nuovamente con il silenzio che merita.

ADDIO LATO.

Cantieri Naikai Zosen, Setoda, Giappone, 20 giugno 1975, costruita per Taiheiyo Enkai Ferry, battezzata DAISETSU

175,60 metri di lunghezza, 23,98 di larghezza, pescaggio 7,20 metri, 11.879 tonnellate secondo il registro domestico giapponese.

2 motori Mitsubishi MAN V7V 52/55, potenza complessiva 20.594 kW, velocità massima 23 nodi, di crociera 21,5, 24,5 alle prove.

674 passeggeri, 231 letti.

Allungata nel 1980 di 12,8 metri, con troncone inserito tra il fumaiolo e la struttura a due piani immediatamente a prua. Lunghezza massima di 188,60 metri, 15.404 tonnellate secondo il registro domestico giapponese.

Venduta nel 1985 alla Higashi Nihon Ferry, prende il nome di VARUNA, Viene modificata a prua sul lato dritto con l’installazione di una rampa di tre quarti per l’accesso al garage principale.

Venduta nel 1987 alla Società Anonima di Navigazione di Creta (ANEK), prende il nome di LATO, lascia Yokohama per la Grecia il 5 agosto 1987, arriva a Pireo il 27 agosto, quindi viene trasferita a Perama per venire ristrutturata.

Entra in servizio per Anek Lines nell’estate 1989. 2.000 passeggeri (capienza poi ridotta a 1.564), 846 posti letto, 25.460 tonnellate secondo le norme internazionali convenzionali.

In disarmo a Souda (Chania) dal settembre 2014, quindi trasferita a Perama.

Venduta nel 2016 a demolitori indiani, prende il nome di LATON, bandiera di St. Kitts & Nevis.

Venduta nel 2016 a Seajets, prende il nome di TALATON, bandiera greca, registrata a Pireo.

Parte per la demolizione ad Aliaga (Turchia) lunedì 18 giugno 2018.

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