27 August 2010

Save the Svea!

As most ship enthustiast are without a doubt aware, SOLAS 2010 regulations soon coming to effect are forcing many classic ships to be retired and they will probably face scrapping unless attempt is made to preserve them in some osrt of a static role (as is being done with the Kristina Regina). Another classic ship about to fall victim of the tightening safety regulations and lack of support for preservation is the 1966-built Swedish short-distance liner Svea, currently sailing in the Adriatic as the Ancona for Blue Line.

The Svea was built at the Lindholmens Varv in Gothenburg for Rederi AB Svea's joint UK-Sweden service with the Swedish Lloyd and Ellerman's Wilson Line. The Svea and her Swedish Lloyd-owned sisters Saga (scrapped 2003) and Patricia (still sailing but malformed by multiple rebuilds) were designed by the famous maritime architect Knud E. Hansen, while interiors were designed by the even more famous Robert Tillberg.

Both externally and internally the Svea is, in my opinion, one of the best-looking liners to have ever sailed. Externally she is well-balanced and almost classicially designed... yet she also exhibits the best of the streamlined 1960s ship design, while managing to avoid it's biggest excesses. On the inside she exhibited (and still exhibits) a similar balance of tradition and modernity. For those interested, Fakta om Fartyg has an attractive series of photographs from both the ship's exteior and interior.

Between 1966 and 1977 the Svea sailed on various services on the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay for Rederi AB Svea and later for Swedish Lloyd (under the names Hispania and Saga). After the closure of Swedish Lloyd's Sweden-UK link she was sold to services in the Mediterranean in 1978, first as Knossos for Minoan Lines, later as Captain Zaman II for Diler Lines and COTUNAV, until being sold to her current owners Blue Line in 2003.

The Ancona has been retained in very good condition through-out her career, and many of her original 1966 furnishings still survive onboard. However, despite the fact her good condition and excellent seakeeping abilities, the ship must stop sailing by 1 October this year, when new SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulation come into effect. Rebuilding the 44-year old ship to correspond to the new regulations is not financially viable, and as such she faces the unpleasant fate of being scrapped, unless some way is found in which to preserve her in a static role. The Danish achitect Christian Rønne has begun a project to save the Svea, so please take the time and visit bevar SVEA! now.

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