21 September 2017

Veøy on the Geirangerfjord, 29 August 2017

During the recent trip to Norway with Cruise Norway, I took a crapload of photos of local Norwegian road ferries. I'm still debating whether or not to post the photos of most of them, as road ferries are not exactly a focus for this blog. But, in addition to the road ferries, there was one "proper" ferry photographed during the trip: the Veøy, which runs a summer service between Geiranger and Hellesylt, sailing through the pictoresque Geirangerfjord.

Veøy

IMO 7368748
Built 1974, Hjørungavåg Mekaniske Verksted, Norway
Tonnage 1 870 GT
Length 74,98 m
Width 12,01 m
Draught 2,60 m
345 passengers
50 cars
2 Wichmann diesels, combined 1 870 kW
2 propellers
Speed 15 knots

(Please be aware that I'm not 100% certain about the figures above; different sources give different dimensions and tonnage figures for the ship).

The Veøy was built in 1974 by the Hjørnungvaag Mekaniske Verksted for Møre og Romsdal Fylkesbåtar's (MRF) service linking Molde to Vestnes via Vikebukt, which remained the ship's primary route until 1988. After 1988, it served on a variety of different routes, which I won't bore you with, until 1997, when the ship became a regular on the Hellesylt-Geiranger -route during the summer seasons. During the winters the Veøy is a reserve ferry, and as such has sailed on several different routes for shorter or longer periods of time.

In 2001, MRF merged with Fylkesbaatane i Sogn og Fjordane. The combined company first took the name Nordvestlandske, but already in 2002 this was altered to Fjord1. The actual structure of the Fjord1 company is rather complex, with numerous subsidiaries to the main company owning and/or operating the various individual ships, which is why the Veøy's official owners are Fjord1 MRF.

The photos below show the Veøy on the Geirangerfjord, and the ferry quay in Geiranger, on 29 August 2017. Photographed from onboard the excursion ship Geirangerfjord. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The forward rake of the superstructure is interesting; the angle will reduce glare and therefore improve views from inside, but such stylings are relatively rare, except for dedicated onservation longes.
I quite like the classic style of the Fjord1 flag in the logo, but I do wish they would paint the funnels entirely with the red and blue stripe, rather than a white funnel with the stripes just "stamped on".
On the left is the Friaren ("Suitor") waterfall; across the fjord is the better-known De syv søstrene ("The Seven Sisters") waterfall. Personally, I thought Friaren looked more impressive, but maybe that's just me. In any case you're only getting to see that one, as getting De syv søstrene in the same photo as the ferry would have been abviously problematic.
As is common oon ferries that do not venture far into the open sea, the car deck is open to the elements aft.
At Geiranger. The size of the bow visor is rather impressive.
Returning to the livery for a bit, based on photos it seems the masts were originally painted yellow (matching MRF's funnel colours, which were yellow with a black stripe). At least arguably the white masts are not an improvement, even if they are in keeping with Fjord1's corporate image.

16 September 2017

Viking Sky in Helsinki, 31 July 2017

My plan for a return to weekly updates hasn't been too successful, thanks to the combination of a hectic work schedule and a hectic travelling schedule - two weeks ago I was in Norway on the trip organised by Cruise Norway mentioned in the previous entry, after that I had a week to do final corrections my and Bruce Peter's upcoming book Innovation and Specialisation: The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland (which will get a detailed blog entry later) and then during the past week I was in Armenia of all places. I had actually prepared this particular entry before going to Norway, with the idea that I could post it during the travels, but never found the time. The technical quality of the photos is not perhaps quite as good as in the more recent entries, as these were taken during the time brief moment in time when I had to revert to using the old old 350D camera.

Viking Sky

IMO 9650420
Built 2017, Fincantieri Maghera, Italy
Tonnage 47 842 GT
Length 227,28 m
Width 28,79 m
Draft 6,65 m
944 passengers
4 MAN diesels, combined 23 520 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thrusters
Speed 20 knots

The Viking Sky is, of course, a sister ship to the Viking Star, and as she was delivered just this year, there's very little to actually say about her. So let's get straight down to the photos, which were taken from Vattuniemi in Lauttasaari as the ship departed Länsisatama (West Harbour) on the afternoon of 31 July 2017. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

People in general seem to be extremely keen on the Viking Cruises ships' exterior design. To be honest, I'm not sure if I agree; they are attractive modern cruise ships, sure, but nothing spectacular.
And since I started criticising the ships, I'm also going to say that the names - while nice in that they recall the Royal Viking Line of old - do come across as rather uninspired.
As you can see, the water levels were quite low, which resulted in neat foreground rocks.
There was also a regatta of some sort going on, so neat sailboats were also captured alongside the Viking Sky.

03 September 2017

Nordlys in Trondheim, 28 August 2017

I returned yesterday from a trip through various Norwegian cruise ports organized by Cruise Norway, and you can later on read more about the trip from Cruise Business Review. Sufficient to say for now that it was interesting, exhausting and at times eye-opening - and all this in superb company. The trip also gave some chances to photograph ships I don't normally see - the first of which is the subject of this entry.

Nordlys

IMO 9048914
Built 1994, Volkswerft Stralsund, Germany
Tonnage 11 204 GT
Length 121,66 m
Width 19,20 m
Draught 4,70 m
691 passengers
482 berths
50 cars
2 MaK diesels, combined 9 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 18 knots

The Nordlys was the last ship of Hurtigruten's first trio of 1990s newbuildings, built by the Volkswerft in Stralsund, in the former East Germany (the sister ships being the Kong Harald and Richard With). Her original owners were TFDS (Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap), though the name Nordlys (Norwegian for "Northern Lights") recalls that of a previous 1951-built BDS (Bergenske Dampskibsselskap) -owned Hurtigrute, which TFDS took over, alongside BDS's Hurtigruten share, in 1979.

The Nordlys entered service in April 1994 on Hurtigruten's Bergen-Kirkenes service, on which the ship remains to this day. There has been some drama to her career: in January 2006 she evacuated 680 people from Melkøya due to a heavy storm and in September 2011 an engine room fire onboard resulted in two deaths. Less dramatic were a sale in 2003 to KS Kirberg, with a 15-year charterback agreement (so actually due to end next year), and a series of brief winter lay-ups in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The photos below show the Nordlys arriving at Trondheim in the morning of 28 August 2017 on a northbound crossing. Photographed from the Trondheim port cruise quay. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

You can get nice photos if you get up early enough. Which I normally wouldn't do, but (fortunately or not) I didn't get to design the schedules of the trip.
The exterior design is fairly utilitatian, though I still quite like it. If I remember correctly, the funnel exhausts were a later addition to the original design.
Passing Munkholmen, a former monastery and prison on Trondheimsfjorden.
The island-passing photos were so good, I just had to include a second one!
Approaching the Hurtigruten terminal - and the run, giving less nice lighting.

24 August 2017

Stockholm in Stockholm, 18 August 2017

It's been a while since the last update. I can happily say that Innovation and Specialisation - The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland is nearing completion (and it's looking awesome), and I'm finally at a point when there's no pending workload. Meanwhile, last month my trusted Canon EOS 500D camera broke, and I was briefly forced to revert to the old 350D - but the shipspotter extraordinnaire Marko Stampehl sold me his old 7D camera (at a price I could afford), so overall everything worked out better than expected. That said, I've only been able to "take out" the camera just once so far - the results of which you can see below.

Stockholm

IMO 5193890
Name history: Öland, Korsholm III, Korsholm, Öland, Korsholm, Korsholm av Wästerås, Stockholm
Built 1931, Oskarshamns Varv, Sweden
Tonnage 421 GRT
Length 48,79 m
Width 8,56 m
Draught 3,50 m
350 passengers (summer)/250 passengers (winter)
Steam engine, 710 kW
2 Volvo-Penta diesels, combined 750 kW
1 propeller
Speed 11 knots

Why are we looking at a small achipelago cruise ship, you may ask? Well, the reason is that the Stockholm (in addition to being rather neat-looking) was also back in the day the first roll-on roll-off car ferry to sail between Finland and Sweden. So let us dwelve into the story of this fascinating ship!

The Stockholm was built in 1931 as the Öland by Oskarshamn Varv in Sweden for the Royal Post Office to maintain winter service between the Swedish mainland and Öland. Her hull was ice-reinforced, though I do not know how the reinforcements translate into today's system. In 1952 the ship was sold to Ångbåts AB Kalmarsund, who retained her on the Öland-Swedish mainland routes, but now sailing also during the summers. In 1956, she was withdrawn and laid up.

A buyer emerged in 1958 in the form of Rederi Ab Vasa-Umeå, a Finnish shipping company operating ships linking - you guessed it - Vaasa in Finland to Umeå in Sweden. The Öland was renamed Korsholm III and sailed to the Hollming shipyard in Rauma, Finland, where she was lengthened by 12 metres. The added midsection included a side-loadable car deck for up to 35 cars. Thus, when she re-entered service later the same year, the Korsholm III became the first car ferry to sail between Finland and Sweden. While her hull was ice-reinforced, it could not cope with the difficult ice conditions on the Gulf of Bothnia, and during her time with Vasa-Umeå the Korsholm III was always laid up for the winters.

The Korsholm III remained in service with Rederi Ab Vasa-Umeå until 1966, sailing on the Vaasa-Umeå route with the exception of the 1966 summer season, when she sailed from Vaasa to Örnsköldsvik instead. The arrival of the new Botnia Express for the 1967 summer season meant there was no longer a use for the Korsholm III, and she was laid up from autumn 1966 until autumn 1967, when she was sold to the Finnish Navy as a command ship, renamed Korsholm (she replaced an earlier Korsholm, which was also an old Vasa-Umeå steamer, the Korsholm II). Our Korsholm was transferred to the Finnish Maritime Administration in 1975.

The FMA gave up the ship in 1985. During the following 13 years, the aged steamer passed from one owner to another, with various plans for use either in service or in a stationary role. Between 1986 and 1989 she reverted to the original name Öland, then back to Korsholm until 1996, and then Korsholm av Wästerås (as the Swedish registry did not allow for two ships to have the same name, the established practice was to paint "av", Swedish for "of", between the name and port of registry, thus creating a "different" name). At various times she was laid up in Turku, Stockholm and Nakskov (Denmark), in increasingly poor condition due to vandalism.

Then, in 1998, the ship's fortunes were reversed: she was acquired by Strömma Kanalbolaget, who totally renovated her for use as an archipelago cruise ship in Stockholm. Her bow, superstructure and funnel were restored to original appearance (the bow having been raised by one deck and the funnel rebuilt when she became the Korsholm III), and the interiors rebuilt to be suitable for her new role - including a dining room decorated in art deco style. To save on fuel costs, two diesel engines were fitted alongside the original steam engine. In spring 2000, the ship was renamed Stockholm and entered service on archipelago cruises from her namesake city. This is the service where she remains to this day.

The photos below show the Stockholm departing from Nybroviken in Stockholm, photographed from the quayside. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

It was a nice day, with a nice new camera and a neat classsic ship. Nothing to complain about.
The exterior is not, of course, entirely similar to the original, as the 12-metre section added in 1958 has not been removed. And the funnel colours were different back in the day, of couse.
These photos did require some fiddling afterwards on the computer; I'm still on the learning curve when it comes to the best settings to use on the new camera.

09 June 2017

Silja Symphony in Helsinki, 19 July 2016

This blog is not dead, though you could be forgiven for thinking so. I have been very busy for the last few weeks putting the finishing touches on my & Bruce Peter's magnum opus, Innovation and Specialisation: The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland. The concentration on that project also created an impressive backlog of work for other projects, and the blog was the loser in the struggle for my time. I have several interesting photo sets to post, including no less than three interior tours... but since I don't have time to edit those into publishable form right now, there are instead images of the Silja Symphony tasken from Vallisaari last summer; these are a set I edited for publication in another project, so they might as well go up here, too.

Silja Symphony

IMO 8803769
Built 1991, Kvaerner Masa-Yards Turku, Finland
Tonnage 58 377 GT
Length 203,03 m
Width 31,93 m
Draught 7,12 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 852 passengers
3 001 berths
410 cars
1 600 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Vasa diesels, combined 32 580 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 21 knots

So, the photos below show the Silja Symphony arriving at Helsinki in the morning of 19 July 2016, photographed from Vallisaari. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The no entry -bit of Vallisaari looks rather impressive indeed in the foreground.
This could be a cover for an updated version of Silja Line from De Samseglande to Tallink, if I ever have the chance to make one.
Impressive exterior design on thse sisters, even if the current style hull texts don't quite match the rest of the livery as well as the original.
Entering the Kustaanmiekka strait.