August 2 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Mariners, the floating restaurant on the Ipswich Waterfront, has reopend for business following a temporary closure for redecoration.
The restaurant, formerly known as Il Punto, is based on a former Belgian gunboat which later also served as a Dutch-flagged hospital ship, and has been owned since 1994 by Regis Crepy, who also owns The Great House at Lavenham. .
The vessel, built in Bruges in 1899 and commissioned the following year, was originally known as the SS Argus. It was requisitioned by the Belgian navy in 1940, later being sunk and then raised and repaird by the Germans.
It was handed back to it owners in Antwerp in 1945 and re-entered service as the Flandria VII, before being renamed again as the Florence Nightingale in 1953 after being converted into a hospital ship.
From the early 1970s it operated for 18 years as a party boat before arriving in Harwich and then Ipswich in 1990 after being acquired by Contship Ltd.
As Il Punto, it initially specialised in Italian food although since its acquisition by Mr Crepy it has operated as a French-style brasserie. Its reopening following redecoration also sees the introduction of a new menu