03 August 2010

Gabriella, 28 July 2010


IMO 8917601
Built 1992, Brodogradiliste Split, Croatia
Tonnage 35 492 GT
Length 171,50 m
Width 28,20 m
Draught 6,25 m
2 420 passengers
2 402 verths
400 cars
900 lane metres
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

Gabriella was ordered as the first in a pair of ships in 1989 by Sea-Link Shipping of Sweden for their planned new Euroway cruiseferry service between Malmö and Lübeck. Brodogradiliste Split based the design of the Euroway ships on the sisters Amorella and Isabella they has just completed for SF Line (one of the owners of Viking Line), but with one additional deck and a different layout on deck 7. The construction of both Euroway sisters was delayed by the war in Bosnia; the future Gabriella, than named Frans Suell, reportedly even suffered some battle damage before she was finally delivered in May 1992. The construction of the second ship - tentatively named Frans Kockum - was even more severely delayed and resulting Euroway begun collaborating with Silja Line in February 1993. (The Frans Kockum was eventually completed on the shipyard's own expense as Thomas Mann and sold after completion to DFDS Seaways who renamed her Crown of Scandinavia).

In the end Euroway proved a failure, and the service was closed down in March 1994. Immediately afterwards the Frans Suell was chartered by Sea-Link to Silja Line, who renamed the ship Silja Scandinavia for service on the Turku-Stockholm route. Two years later Sea-Link decided they would sell the Silja Scandinavia to the highest bidder. Although Silja were very pleased with the ship, the company's economic situation was so precarious at the time they could not afford buying her. Their main competitors Viking Line on the other hand were extremely interested in the ship - following the bankruptcy of the other Viking Line partner Rederi AB Slite the remaining partner SF Line (which by this time had been renamed Viking Line) has suffered from a chronic tonnage shortage.

Viking made successful bid for the ship, and in April 1997 the Silja Scandinavia was delivered to Viking Line. She was renamed Gabriella following a naming competition and placed on the Helsinki-Stockholm service as a running mate of the Mariella. During her first year with Viking the Gabriella's funnel was painted all-red, as opposed to the line's traditional red/white, to better distinguish her from her sisters Amorella and Isabella.

Photographs below show the Gabriella in Helsinki South Harbour pool, departing the Katajanokka ferry terminal on 28 July 2010, photographed from Tähtitorninmäki.

Leaving the quay and preparing to turn around.
Turning in the harbour pool.
And passing the terminal again, en-route towards Kustaanmiekka and open sea.

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