Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 30 October 2023.

The ro-ro line between the ports of Cadiz, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife is now 45 years old. In 1978, the Trasmediterránea company chartered three ‘Beni’ ro-ro ships to launch the beginning of a new stage in maritime transport between the south of the Peninsula and the Canary Islands archipelago. It had only recently adapted the ports of both capitals for this mode of transport, which would soon become the norm.

However, the three ‘Beni’ vessels chartered from NEASA, with a capacity of 790 linear metres, did not achieve the expected results and the company opted to lease the 1,200 metre ‘Roll-Al’ and ‘Rollman’ vessels from Interroll, with the option to buy. Then, in 1981, they came under the company’s ownership and were renamed ‘Ciudad de Cádiz’ and ‘Ciudad de Alicante’. In 1990, they added another slightly larger vessel from the same series called the ‘Ciudad de Burgos’, with a capacity of 1,375 linear metres.

The progressive increase in ro-ro business between Cádiz and the Canary Islands led the company to add two larger ships to its fleet at the end of the 90s. They then had the chance to purchase two new large vessels called ‘Super-Fast Canarias’ and ‘Super-Fast Andalucía’. They initially had a cargo capacity of 2,600 linear metres, although after a refurbishment carried out in Astilleros de Santander, their capacity was increased to 3,465 linear metres. These were joined by the ‘Super-Fast Levante’ ship in 2001, increasing the company’s transport capacity with another 2,000 linear metres.

The new vessels fulfilled their task with a remarkable performance, so the company commissioned the design of two other vessels, each with a capacity of 3,500 linear metres, built at the Navantia Puerto Real shipyard, and they entered into service in 2010, named ‘José M. Entrecanales’ –now ‘Villa de Tazacorte’– and ‘Super-Fast Baleares’. The first of these, together with the ‘Ciudad de Valencia’ ferry, currently transports fruit and general cargo between the Canary Islands and Cadiz.

Previously there were other vessels, such as the ferries ‘J.J. Sister’, ‘Manuel Soto’, ‘Juan J. Sister’, ‘Sorolla’, ‘Albayzin’ and ‘Murillo’, which provided the weekly connection for passengers and ro-ro cargo between Cadiz and the Canary Islands, in addition to “piggyback” journeys to replace grounded vessels. There were also periods where other vessels were in service, such as the ‘Super-Fast Galicia’ (currently ‘Ciudad de Ibiza’), the ‘Cala Salada’ and the ‘Volcán de Teneguía’, as well as other chartered vessels, such as the ‘Aegean Heaven’, between 2008 and 2010, which was capable of reaching a speed of 30 knots and had a capacity of 1,850 linear metres.