28 October 2010

Rosella, 10 October 2010

Rosella

IMO 7901265
Built 1980, Wärtsilä Turku, Finland
Tonnage 16 879 GT
Length 136,11 m
Width 24,24 m
Draught 5,60 m
Ice class 1A
1 530 passengers
1 200 berths
340 cars
720 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 17 652 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20,2 knots

Rosella was built for SF Line in 1980 as the sister ship of the Turella built the previous year by Wärtsilä. Originally SF Line had signed a contract for constructing the two ferries with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries but the company could not get a go-ahead to transfer such a large sum of money abroad from the Bank of Finland, and resultingly the company were forced to negotiate a new (and more expensive) deal with a Finnish shipyard. On delivery the Rosella was placed on Viking Line's Naantali-Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service, but already the next year she was transferred to the longer Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm -route. She stayed on that service until October 1988, when she was transferred back to the Naantali-Mariehamn-Kapellskär -route, now replacing her sister Turella which had been sold to Stena Line. (An unconfirmed report claims that originally SF Line had agreed to sell the Rosella to Stena Line, but due to the late delivery of her replacement Amorella the Rosella's delivery to Stena had been delayed and as compensation Stena demanded the Turella instead, which was supposedly in better condition and easier to modify to suit Stena's needs).

Rosella stayed on the Naantali service until late 1993, when the bankruptcy of the other Viking Line partner Rederi AB Slite forced SF Line to reorganise their operations. The Rosella was rebuilt with additional cabins at Rauma. On 1 January 1994 the Rosella again returned to the Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm -service, replacing the much-superior Kalypso that had been sold to Star Cruises following Slite's bankruptcy. During the summer seasons 1995 and 1996 the Rosella was replaced on the Turku-Stockholm service by the Cinderella, allowing the Rosella to return to the Naantali-Kapellskär service for the high season. Following Viking Line's purchase of the Gabriella in 1997 the Rosella was permanently replaced on the Turku-Stockholm service by the Isabella. Now the Rosella spent the winters doing 24-hour (later 22-hour) cruises from Stockholm to Mariehamn (under the marketing name "Dancing Queen") and sailed between Turku, Mariehamn and Kapellskär during the summer seasons.

In 2003, in preparation for Estonia joining the EU and the resulting end of Tax-Free sales on routes linking Finland to Estonia, Viking Line decided to swap the routes of the Rosella and Cinderella. The latter was rebuilt and renamed Viking Cinderella for Stockholm-Mariehamn cruising (where tax-free sales still remain due to special EU legislation concerning the Åland Islands), while the Rosella was used to start a new ferry service between Helsinki and Tallinn. After initial difficulties the Rosella became highly popular on the service and in 2005 Viking Line decided to order a new ship for the Helsinki-Tallinn route. The newbuilding, Viking XPRS, was eventually delivered in 2008 and replaced the Rosella. (Viking Line had in fact originally wished to use both ships on the route, but the city of Helsinki stated they would not allow Viking to continue operating from their terminal at Katajanokka if the wished to use additional ships. Faced with the choice of either operating only one ship or moving their operations to the freight harbour in Vuosaari, Viking were forced to withdraw the Rosella).

To make good use of their faithful but unemployed ship, Viking decided to move the Rosella to the short Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service, replacing the even older Ålandsfärjan at the end of May 2008. Originally this was only planned to be a temporary employment for the Rosella, as a new ship (project name Viking ADCC) for the Mariehamn-Kapellskär -route was already under construction in Spain, to be delivered in 2009-2010. However, the construction of the ADCC was repeatedly delayed due to financial difficulties of the shipyard and eventually Viking Line decided to cancel the build contract in February 2010. At the time of writing it seems that the Rosella will remain on the Mariehamn-Kapellskär -service for a long time into the future. However, Viking Line have stated they will hold a press conference regarding the future of the said service on 1 December 2010.

Photographs below show the Rosella shortly after departing Mariehamn for another crossing to Kapellskär on 10 October 2010. Taken from onboard the Silja Europa. Click on the induvidual images to view full size.

Rosella framed by autumn trees as she's taking the shallower shipping lane to allow the Turku-Stockholm ships space as they make their daily visit to Mariehamn.
Green energy in the background... not sure how green the energy is on Rosella though.
Pictoresque, ne?
Turning towards the west and Kapellskär.

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