13 July 2018

Megastar in Helsinki, 13 June 2018

The Megastar isn't exactly new anymore, but she hasn't actually been featured in this blog that often. Furthermore, the photos are somewhat newsworthy right now, as Tallink recently indicated their interest in contracting a sister ship for the Megastar - although where and when such a ship would be built is another matter entirely.


IMO 9773064
Built 2017, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 49 134 GT
Length 212,10 metres
Width 30,60 metres
Draught 7,00 metres
2 824 passengers
188 cabin berths
800 cars (if no freight units carried) or
320 cars and 110 freight units
1 970 lane metres
5 Wärtsilä LNG/diesel hybrid engines, combined 45 600 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Service speed 27 knots
Ice class 1A

For those interested, my interior tour of the Megastar can be found here.

The photo below were taken on the afternoon of 13 June 2018, showing the Megastar outside Helsinki, bound for Länsisatama (West Harbour), photographed from onboard the outbound Finlandia. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I do like the departures where ships meet just outside Länsisatama. The views are always so dramatic.
Case point.
If you're close enough, the ship looks so sleek.
Look in the other direction, and the sky changes dramatically. Yes, this is from the same session, though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

Next time: we will probably do a little change of pace and look at the little Helsinki local ferry Isosaaari.

08 July 2018

Viking Grace in Turku, 1 June 2018

Apologies for the recent hiatus. Our family has been enjoying some well-deserved vacation time, so I left the blog on the sidelines during the past few weeks. But now we are back, and this entry will feature my first images of the Viking Grace with its new flettner rotor.

Viking Grace

IMO 9606900
Built 2013, STX Europe Turku, Finland
Tonnage 57 700 GT
Length 218,60 m
Width 31,80 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 800 passengers
2 876 berths
530 lane metres of cars
1 275 lane metres of cargo
4 Wärtsilä dual fuel (LNG/diesel) engines, combined 30 400 kW
1 Norsepower flettner rotor
2 fixed-pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Service speed 21,8 knots
Maximum speed 25,6 knots

The Viking Grace has been around for five years already, but it seems I haven't done a proper history article on the ship, so here goes.

The NB1376, as it was originally referred to in marketing materials, was contracted in December 2010 by Viking Line from what was then the STX Europe yard in Turku. The order materialised after prolonged negotiations. From the start, the new ship was designed to use liquidized natural gas (LNG) as fuel, becoming the first major passenger vessel in the world to do so. The ship's final name, chosen from 9 900 unique proposals from the public, was revealed in February 2012 (I was rather disappointed in both the eight finalists shortlisted as well as the final choice, and wrote about this in some detail).

The Viking Grace was launched in August 2012 and entered service in January 2013. The maiden voyage was a special all-inclusive two-night cruise, which was sold out, despite the prices being in the same range per person per night as upper end luxury cruise lines. For the first few months, the ship operated primarily with marine diesel fuel, until the delivery of the bespoke LNG fueling ferry Seagas in March.

In April 2018, the Viking Grace was fitted with a new flettner rotor provided by Norsepower, becoming the first major passenger vessel to be fitted with one (cargo carriers have been fitted with them before). The rotor is projected to decrease LNG fuel consumption by 300 tonnes per year, resulting in a 900 ton reduction of carbondioxide emissions yearly.

The photos below show the Viking Grace departing from Turku in the evening of 1 June 2018, photographed from the Kansanpuisto ferry quay in Ruissalo. For these particular images, special thanks go to Krzysztof Brzoza for making these shots possible by giving me a ride to and from central Turku to Ruissalo.

As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

It does look more than slightly phallic, doesn't it?
The rotor doesn't quite match the stylings of the rest of the ship, but then again it's pretty hard to make a design that would do so. A different paintjob for the rotor might help though.
The lighting was not ideal this time around, but I think the photos turned out pretty good even so.
I do like that ship. Her only fault is that she sails from Turku, and the schedule is slightly problematic coming from Helsinki.
Also notice the "spoiler" added aft of the funnel to accommodate the various antennas which were originally located where the roto is now (the first renderings showed the rotor aft of the funnel, but I guess the central location is better).
I think the "spoiler" actually works quite well with the original design.
Next time we will probably look at the Megastar again.

Postscript: As you undoubtedly noticed, the photos in this entry introduced a new copyright watermark. I discovered earlier this year that Blogger, in its infinite wisdom, not only crops off a bit from the top and bottom of photos for previews on Facebook (and I presume elsewhere too), but these images also show up on Google searches. The old watermark was just small enough to be cropped off, resulting in an incident earlier this year where a company (who shall remain unnamed) used one of these preview images copied from a Google search on Facebook without asking for permission (they did remove it when I pointed out to them, although only after accusing me of lying first). This new watermark should solve this particular problem, although it of course doesn't solve the issue with more malicious image thieves of editing it out. But if one gets too paranoid there's really no way of putting up images on the internet...

Anyway, since I was changing the watermark anyway, I also wanted to change the font to match the one used in the blog header image, remove the year (it was really quite superfluous and added extra work as it needed to be updated yearly) , and add the url, just in case someone posts these somewhere else. So, yeah, here we are. I hope people don't find it too bothersome.

19 June 2018

Runö in Pärnu, 18 June 2018

As it happens, I am currently in Pärnu, Estonia for a little vacation with the family. My original hope was that there should be some ferry photography while here, particularly of the local Estonian double-ended ferries, but unfortunately our schedules and those of the ships did not match, and the only local ferry I actually did have a chance of photograph is the little fast ferry Runö. So that's the one we're looking at today.


IMO 9643336
Built 2012, Baltic Workboats Nasva, Estonia
Tonnage 169 GT
Length 23,90 m
Width 22,80 m
Draugth 1,48 m
60 passengers
2 cars
2 Volvo Penta diesels, combined 1 102 kW
2 propellers
Maximum speed 25 knots

The Runö is one in the current generation of Estonian local ferries, produced during the previous decade or so at local shipyards - in this particular case, Baltic Workboats at Nasva on the island of Saaremaa. The Runö (the Swedish-language name for the island of Ruhnu in Estonia - the Estonian islands had a relatively large Swedish-speaking population until World War II) was contracted in 2010 and delivered in May 2012 to Kihnu Veeteed. The little fast craft is used on routes connecting Ringsu (on Ruhnu) to Roomassaare on Saaremaa and Pärnu on the Estonian mainland.

The photos below show the Runö on the Pärnu river on 18 June 2018, shortly after departing Pärnu for a crossing to Ruhnu. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Yes, this is a very small ship.
Alas, the lighting is not ideal - the best location, at least for this time of the day, would have been the jetties of the local sailing club. They were open, but based on previous experiences with sailing clubs I decided not to risk being chased off in the middle of a photography session.
I do like Kihnu Veeteed's way of incorporating local knitting patterns in the liveries of the ships (which actually work better here than on the big double-enders).
And off it goes!
Kships will return. I have a few sets of local ferry photos waiting for editing and publication, so unless I take some really interesting photos in the interim, next week's entry will likely be either the Viking Grace with its new flettner rotor, or the Megastar.

09 June 2018

Peter Pan in Bremerhaven, 19 April 2018

This time around, we're going to have just one photo. But of a ship that I think is very interesting: TT-Line's ropax Peter Pan, which was recently lengthened.

Peter Pan

IMO 9217242
Built 2001, SSW Fähr- und Spezialschiffbau Bremerhaven, Germany
Tonnage 44 245 GT
Length 219,95 m
Width 29,50 m
Draugth 6,20 m
744 passengers
646 passenger berths
3 670 lanemetres
5 MaK diesels, combined 28 392 kW
2 Siemens-Schottel Propulsor azimuthing pods
2 bow thrusters
Service speed 18,5 knots

This particular Peter Pan is the fifth ship with that name in the fleet of TT-Line. It was contracted in 1999, together with the sister ship Nils Holgersson from SSW Fähr- und Spezialschiffbau in Bremerhaven, Germany. Unusually for ferries, the ships were specified with azimuthing podded propulsion units (Siemens-Schottel Propulsors, or SSP for short, rather than the better-known ABB Azipods) rather than conventional propellers and rudders. These proved unreliable during the construction process, with the Nils Holgersson delayed by five months and the Peter Pan by three. Thus, the Peter Pan entered service on the Trelleborg-Travemünde route in November 2001. Shortly afterwards the ship collided with a pier in Trelleborg and had to be docked again, this time at Lübecker Flender-Werft. At the same time, the ship was transferred from the Bahamian to the Swedish register.

The SSP pods continued to prove less reliable than could have been hoped for once the ship was in service; Fakta om Fartyg lists four separate occasions between 2004 and 2006 that the ship had to be drydocked for swapping out the pods. After that the problem appears to have abated and the ship's career has been less eventful, apart from another collision in Trelleborg in 2013.

In December 2017, the Peter Pan sailed to the German Dry Docks in Bremerhaven for an expansive rebuilding, where the ship was lengthened from 190 to 219 metres, while the aft cargo deck was expanded, a new bulbous bow was fitted and – more than a bit strangely – the tip of the bow was sliced off. The rebuilding was somewhat delayed, but in the end the ship re-entered service at the end of May 2018.

The photo below shows the Peter Pan at the German Dry Docks in Bremerhaven while undergoing the great rebuilding on 19 April 2018. Photographed from onboard the Norwegian Bliss. As always, click on the image to see it in larger size.

Alas, getting a shot without the various buildings in the foreground was not an option. Still, I think this is an interesting photo so you will just have to bear with me.
Kships will return.

03 June 2018

Mein Schiff 2 floats, 1 June 2018

The new Mein Schiff 2 was floated out on Friday at the Meyer Turku shipyard, and I was there as a reporter. My plan was to make a blog entry about it earlier, but Friday turned out to be a twenty-hour day (I got up at six am and went to bed at 2 am)

Mein Schiff 2

IMO 9783564
Built 2019, Meyer Turku, Finland
Tonnage 111 500 GT
Length 315,70 m
Width 35,80 m
Draugth 8,05 m
2 894 passengers (lower berths)
3 132 passengers (all berths)
Diesels, combined 28 000 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
Speed 21 knots

Traditions are important in shipbuilding, and the float-out ceremonies at the Turku shipyard have their own. I thought that, instead of simply showing you images of the Mein Schiff 2 at the shipyard, I would briefly run you through the ceremony.

Mein Schiff 2 and the awaiting crowd.
When I have attended float-outs in the past, we have been given a chance to go to the bottom of the building dock before the float-out (see, for instance, my reportage on the float-out of the Mein Schiff 5 at MaritimeMatters) but, alas, that didn't happen this time; instead, we proceeded directly to the caisson.

The ship still high and dry. In the background on the left you can see blocks of the upcoming Costa Smeralda, which will start assembly now that the MS2 is out of the way
The tradition part here is that beginning of the float-out is more than just opening the valves to let the drydock flood. Two teams, formed from local leadership of the various companies participating are formed, and they will compete on which one manages to open their valve first. The go-signal is given by the cannon group of the local arms historical society Arma Aboa using their replica of an 18th century cannon, and with uniforms to match.

Preparing to fire.
It seems I'm never quite prepared for the sheer noise of the shot, resulting in pictures like this every time.
Frantic opening of the valves commances as the ship is briefly enveloped in smoke.
And the dock starts slowly filling up.
And that's it, actually. In these days, most companies hold a proper naming ceremony only after they have taken delivery of the ship, so no champgne bottles are ivolved (this is not as novel as some commentators make it out to be, there has been a lot of variance from one company to another in the past) - and, of course, a building dock makes the whole process a lot less impressive than a traditional slipway. But with Arma Aboa's connon, the Turku yard have certainly managed to make their float-out ceremonies more interesting.

Kships, as per the usual, will return.