A BOAT that ferried thousands of people across Portsmouth Harbour has been sold.
Portsmouth Queen has left Gosport after serving nearly 50 years with the Gosport Ferry company.
The vessel left on Monday evening and will be used as a party boat on the River Thames in London.
Jeremy Clarke, general manager for the Gosport Ferry, said: ‘She was put up for sale towards the end of last year and now she has gone.
‘She served nearly 50 years for us but will be on the Thames in future and will be renamed London Queen. It was time for her to go.’
He added: ‘We weren’t sure when she was going to be sold as a few deadlines had been missed.
Maybe when Gosport Queen is no longer used, we will hold a small service.Jeremy Clarke
‘We didn’t even know if Portsmouth Queen was going to be used as a ferry service or a house boat.
‘But we know now she will be in use on the Thames once some maintenance work has been completed.’
Portsmouth Queen’s sister ship Gosport Queen is still in use carrying people between Gosport and Portsmouth.
Mr Clarke said it was because of that reason a special goodbye was not made to Portsmouth Queen.
‘Her sister ship is still used and we hope to carry on using her for the next couple of years,’ he said.
‘They have had a good service but it was hard to find spare parts for the engines and we were finding it increasingly difficult.
‘We have spent £3m on a new vessel which is much more comfortable.
‘Maybe when Gosport Queen is no longer used, we will hold a small service.’
The ferry arrived at the Thames yesterday afternoon.
As previously reported in The News, Portsmouth Queen is not the only Gosport ferry to be sold for alternative uses.
The former Solent Enterprise, which was used by the Gosport Ferry company until 2005, became a floating restaurant in Copenhagen before it was ruined by a fire earlier this year.
She too was sold to work on the River Thames before becoming a restaurant.