26 March 2011

Amadea, 1 June 2007


IMO 8913162
Built 1991, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki, Japan
Tonnage 28 856 GT
Length 192,82 m
Width 24,70 m
Draugth 6,60 m
624 passengers
2 MAN-Mitsubishi diesels, combined 17 300 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 21 knots

For a history of the Amadea, see the previous entry about her.

The photographs below show the Amadea arriving in Stockholm. Photographed from onboard the Mariella. Click on the images to view larger size.

Turning on Stockholms ström before berthing. Despite the calm weather the Amadea needed tug assistance to berth.
Notice both the nicely terraced aft decks and the vertical layout with cabins forward and public spaces aft, the Amadea being one of the few cruise ships to be built to such a plan.

20 March 2011

SuperSeaCat Four, 31 May 2007

SuperSeaCat Four

IMO 9141883
Built 1999, Fincantieri Riva Trigoso, Italy
Tonnage 4 697 GT
Length 100,00 m
Width 17,10 m
Draught 2,70 m
800 passengers
175 cars, 2 buses
4 Rouston diesels, combined 27 500 kW
4 KaMeWa waterjets
2 bow thrusters
Speed 38 knots

SuperSeaCat Four was the fourth and last MDV1200-type fast monohull ferry delivered to Sea Containers. On completion in May 1999 she was laid up at the shipyard as Sea Containers did not in fact have a use for her at the time. Reportedly they considered opening a service linking Brindisi (Italy) with Cesme (Turkey) with her, but this sounds very unlikely as the distance is quite long and the ship has no cabin spaces, just airliner seats, a cafeteria and a small tax-free shop. Like her sister SuperSeaCat Three, the SuperSeaCat Four had an image of one of Sea Containers' owner James Sherwood's cats painted on her bow.

Eventually the SuperSeaCat Four entered service in April 2000, sailing for Sea Containers' subsidiary Silja Line on the Helsinki-Tallinn route. The ship was to stay on this service for Silja Line until 2006, although she was always laid for winters as she does not have an ice-reinforced hull. In 2003 she was joined on the service by her sister SuperSeaCat Three and for the 2005 summer season also the first sister SuperSeaCat One. In July 2006 Sea Containers, which was by now in financial troubles, sold the Silja Line operations to the competing Baltic Sea operator Tallink. However, the Helsinki-Tallinn services of the SuperSeaCats could not be included in the sale as this would have given Tallink a dominant market position on the route. Resultingly the SuperSeaCat Three and SuperSeaCat Four stayed under Sea Containers ownership and continued sailing between Helsinki and Tallinn, but now under the SuperSeaCat brand.

Sea Containers continued to look to sell the two remaining SuperSeaCats, and in January 2008 a buyer emerged in the form of Aegean Speed Lines, who took over the entire SuperSeaCat Baltic Sea operations. Resultingly the SuperSeaCat Three and SuperSeaCat Four were painted with ASL funnel colours but otherwise retained their previous liveries. The ASL-owned SuperSeaCat operations proved to be short-lived, as the Helsinki-Tallinn route was closed down in October 2008 and the two ships laid up at Remontowa, Poland. In May 2009 the SuperSeaCat Four was renamed Speedrunner IV (her sister became, logically, the Speedrunner III) and the following month entered service on Aegean Speed Lines' Pireus-Serifos-Sifnos-Folegandros-Milos -route.

The photographs below show the SuperSeaCat Four shortly after departing Tallinn on 31 May 2007, photographed from onboard Tallink's Star. Click on the images to view larger size.

Passing though the Star's wake after leaving Reisisadam.
According to the not-always-reliable Wikipedia, the sleek exteriors of the MDV1200-ships were designed by the automotive designer Pininfarina, who has also designed trains, trams and buses.
The SuperSeaCat Four quickly passed the Star before we even got out of the Bay of Tallinn.

SuperSeaCat Three, 5 October 2006

SuperSeaCat Three

IMO 9141871
Name history: SuperSeaCat Three, Speedrunner III
Built 1999, Fincantieri Riva Trigoso, Italy
Tonnage 4 697 GT
Length 100,00 m
Width 17,10 m
Draught 2,70 m
800 passengers
175 cars, 2 buses
4 Rouston diesels, combined 27 500 kW
4 KaMeWa waterjets
2 bow thrusters
Speed 38 knots

The SuperSeaCats are perhaps best known internationally as fast ferries sailing on the English Channel. However, three of the ships also appeared on the Baltic and there was a short-lived ferry operator SuperSeaCat operating between Helsinki and Tallinn.

Sea Containers had in 1997 taken delivery of two MDV1200-type fast monohull ships from Fincantieri. The company decided to execute their option for two further vessels, which were delivered in 1999 as the SuperSeaCat Three and SuperSeaCat Four, respectively. As a gift to Sea Containers' owner James Sherwood's wife, images of the Sherwood's cats were painted on the bows of these two sisters, a grey cat for the SuperSeaCat Three and an orange one for the SuperSeaCat Four.

The SuperSeaCat Three initially sailed on the Liverpool-Dublin -route when delivered in 1999, switching to the English channel in 2001 and sailing on the Dover-Oostende and Dover-Calais routes. In 2003 Sea Containers decided to switch the ship to their Baltic Sea subsidiary Silja Line, who had already operated the sister ship SuperSeaCat Four from 2000 onwards. Operating between Helsinki and Tallinn, the ships were marketed as Silja Line SuperSeaCat. Due to the ships not having ice-reinforced hulls, both ships spent the winter months laid up.

By the mid-00s Sea Containers were in trouble financially, and Silja Line was put for sale in 2006. In July 2006 Silja Line was sold to the rival Baltic Sea operator Tallink - however, due to restrictions placed by competition regulators, Tallink could not take over Silja Line's Helsinki-Tallinn services, as this would have given them a dominant market position. Resultingly, the two SuperSeaCats in Helsinki-Tallinn service were demerged into a new, separate company SuperSeaCat which remained under Sea Containers' ownership.

In January 2008 SeaContainers also sold the SuperSeaCat company, to the Greece-based Aegean Speed Lines. Subsequently the ships were painted with ASL funnel symbols, but otherwise there were no changes for the time. However, in October 2008 the SuperSeaCat service between Helsinki and Tallinn was closed down, presumably due to increased competition after both Tallink and Viking Line had taken delivery of new, larger fast ferries. The SuperSeaCat Three and SuperSeaCat Four were laid up in Poland for the winter 2008-2009. In May 2009 the SuperSeaCat Three was renamed Speedrunner III and placed on Aegean Speed Lines' Pireus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos -route.

SuperSeaCat Three at Helsinki's Eteläsatama on 5 October 2006, having just departed for Tallinn. Click on the image to view full size.

14 March 2011

Victoria I, 31 May 2007

Victoria I

IMO 9281281
Built 2004, Aker Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 40 975 GT
Length 193,80 m
Width 29,00 m
Draught 6,50 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 252 berths
400 cars
1 000 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 26 240 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Victoria I was the second newbuilt ship built for Tallink, delivered in 2004 from (what was then) the Aker Finnyards shipyard in Rauma, Finland. She is a sister ship of the Romantika, built in 2002, but the Victoria I has a larger number of cabins. There are also some exterior differences in the ships, most notably the large flower motif painted on the sides of the bow of the Victoria I. Both the Romantika and the Victoria I are based on Viking Line's Cinderella from 1989, with a similar (albeit arguably superior) interior layout.

On delivery in March 2004 the Victoria I was placed on Tallink's service between Tallinn and Stockholm, running parallel to the older and notably inferior Regina Baltica. In May 2004 an intermediate call at Mariehamn on the Åland Islands was added to retain tax-free sales onboard after Estonia joining the EU. (The Åland Islands are an autonymous province of Finland that is not a part of the EU taxation system. Resultingly ships calling at the islands can still sell tax-free goods, even though tax-free sales have been abolished in intra-EU traffic).

In 2005-2006 the Victoria I was also occasionally used for trips between Tallinn and Helsinki. Her running mate on the Tallinn-Stockholm service changed in May 2006 when, following the delivery of the new Galaxy the Romantika was transferred to the Tallinn-Mariehamn-Stockholm route. The two sisters sailed parallel to each other on the route until May 2009, when the new Baltic Queen replaced the Romantika (which was moved to the Riga-Stockholm service). As Tallink have since run into financial difficulties after their rapid expansion during the latter half of the 00's, it seems there is no danger of the Victoria I herself getting replaced with another ship in the near future.

The photographs below show the Victoria I in Tallinn on 31 May 2007. Click on the individual images to view full size.

Victoria I  at Tallinn's Resisadan terminal D, with the Galaxy on the background on the right. Photographed from onboard the Superfast VIII.
Shifting berths at Reisisadam; due to there not being enough berths with passenger linkspans at terminal D, the Victoria I had to vacate her berth for the incoming Star. Once the Galaxy departed, the Victoria I then moved to her berth. Photographed from onboard the Star.
More of the same. In addition to the flower on the bow, the Victoria I  can be told apart from her sister Romantika by the protective sidings on the aft sundeck (the topmost black stripe below the funnel). On the Victoria I this extands all the way to the aft, on the Romantika  it does not. Photo taken from onboard the Star.

13 March 2011

Star, 31 May 2007


IMO 9364722
Built 2007, Aker Finnyards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 36 250 GT
Length 186,00 m
Width 27,70 m
Draught 6,50 m
Ice class 1A
1 900 passengers
520 berths
450 cars
1 981 lanemeters
4 MaK diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 27,7 knots

Yes, I do  have a shitload of photographs of the Star. She keeps shuttling back and forth between Helsinki and Tallinn so often it's impossible not to get a huge number of pictures of her. Well, admittedly I could just not take photos of her every time she comes around...

Moving on, the photographs below are of the Star outside Helsinki, en-route to Länsisatama on the morning of 31 May 2007 (the ship being less than two months old at the time). Photographed from onboard the Superfast VIII. Click on the individual images to see larger size.

Star passing the Superfast VIII at high speed. It was actually slightly scary, the two ships passing each other at fairly high speed on the relatively narrow deep shipping lane.
With her short, stubby bow the Star looks a bit front-heavy in my opinion, and the terraced shape of the aft of the ship further enhances this look.
The Helsinki cityscape in the background in all it's glory.

12 March 2011

Silja Festival, 8 October 2006

Silja Festival

IMO 8306498
Built 1986, Wärtsilä Marine Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 34 417 GT
Length 168,00 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 6,50 m
Ice class 1 A Super
1 886 passengers
1 937 berths
300 cars or 60 trailers
4 Wärtsilä-SEMT-Pielstick diesels, combined 26 200 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

Despite having sailed for just two companies under two different names, the Silja Festival is a ship with a varying and fascinating history. I'm afraid the history section of this entry is going to be rather long...

In the early 1980s, following the success of the Finlandia (now the Princess Maria) and Silvia Regina delivered for the Helsinki-Stockholm route in 1981, Silja Line's owners Johnson Line and Effoa decided to order new ships of a similar design for the Turku-Stockholm service. In fact the Finlandia and Silvia Regina had been built with possible transfer to the Turku service in mind, but in the end Silja's owners opted to have new ships built for the Turku route instead of building another new pair for the Helsinki service and transferring the old pair to Turku.

While similar in interior layout and facilities to the Finlandia and Silvia Regina, the new ships - eventually named Svea and Wellamo - were given sleek, streamlined exterior stylings that were a great contrast to their boxy, functionalist older fleetmates. (it's also of interest to note that the Svea and Wellamo were built at the same time by the same company as Viking Line's Mariella and Olympia, yet in terms of exterior design the Silja pair appear much more modern). As was the tradition on Silja Line ships, Svea and Wellamo carried the funnel colours of their respective owners, with Silja Line markings accompanied with the company's seal head symbol on the hull. As with their older fleetmates, the sister were painted with black decorative stripes on their superstructures.

The first of Silja Line's new sisters, Johnson Line's Svea, was delivered in May 1985 and was briefly the largest ferry in the world. Effoa's Wellamo, the ship we're talking about in this entry, followed in January 1986. The sisters settled in nicely in the Turku-Stockholm service, though the Wellamo's early career was not without mishaps as she was stranded on rocks off Mariehamn in bad weather after just seven months in service. Her starboard propeller was damaged and she was repaired in Naantali. Changes lay ahead however.

In 1990 Effoa and Johnson Line merged their passenger operations, becoming EffJohn. Due to the merger the old practice of painting the full's in the owners' funnel colours was abolished and instead the seal symbol migrated from the hull to the funnel, which was now painted white with the seal in dark blue. Due to delayed delivery of Silja's new Helsinki-Stockholm ship Silja Serenade the Wellamo was transferred to the Helsinki-Stockholm service from April to November 1990. (This was due to the Finlandia's sale to DFDS having already been agreed on and DFDS demanding delivery as originally agreed). Later in 1990 the Wellamo's livery was altered again, with the black decorative stripes on the superstructure and the Silja Line hull texts repainted blue, with the seal symbol in the funnel painted white with a thin blue outline on a white background - hence the livery matching that of the new Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony.

The Svea and Wellamo underwent a more radical change in early 1992. both ships sailed in turn to Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven where amongst others a new midship skybar and and a new buffet restaurant were added. To bring the ships in line with the new company naming policy the ship also recieved new names: the Svea became the Silja Karneval while the Wellamo became the Silja Festival. During the docking the ships also recieved a new livery, essentially the same the Silja Festival carries in the pictures below. However, originally the ship's name was painted on the side in large letters instead of the Silja Line text and the narrow white bands amidst the blue area on the superstructure were originally painted red (which in my opinion gave the livery a nice contrast).

Changes in EffJohn-owned companies soon brought changes for the Silja Festival too. In 1992-1993 EffJohn's other Baltic Sea operations, Sally Cruise and Wasa Line were integrated into Silja Line. The delivery of the new Silja Europa, also in 1993, and the following fleet reshuffle led to the Silja Festival being replaced on the Turku-Stockholm service in March 1993 by the Silja Serenade.The Silja Festival was briefly transferred to the Vaasa-Umeå service, but already in the end of May she was transferred again, now to the Malmö-Travemünde service on the south Baltic that Silja now started operating in conjunction with Euroway. For this service the Silja Festival's livery was altered, with the thin red stripes on the superstructure painted white and the Silja Festival hull text replaced by a new Silja Line Euroway text. At the end of the 1993 summer season the route was extended into Copenhagen-Malmö-Travemünde-Lübeck in an attempt to improve the economics of the service. This was to no avail and in April 1994 the route was closed down.

By this time Silja Line had entered into an agreement to sell the Silja Festival to Color Line. However, in the end Silja decided to sell the sister Silja Karneval instead. As Color Line had already begun to market their new ship as the Color Festival, the Silja Karneval took on this name and for the next 14 years both sisters were named Festival. Following the closure of Euroway the Silja Festival returned to the Gulf of Bothnia for the 1994 summer season, sailing from Vaasa to Umeå and Sundsvall. For the 1994-1995 winter season she made 24-hour cruises from Helsinki to Tallinn in lieu of the Sally Albatross that had been withdrawn after a serious grounding accident in spring 1994. For the 1995 summer season the Silja Festival returned for the last time to the Vaasa-Sundsvall service. From autumn 1995 she sailed again between Helsinki and Tallinn, but now on a ferry service with two daily departures from both ports instead of a 24-hour cruise service.

In April 1997 the Silja Festival returned to the Turku-Mariehamn-Stockholm service for which she was built, as Silja Line had lost the Silja Scandinavia that they had chartered since 1994 to Viking Line (the Silja Scandinavia remains in Viking line's service today as the Gabriella). Coinciding with the route change the Silja Festival was moved from the Finnish registry to the Swedish registry, to continue the company tradition of having one ship ship in both registries both on the Helsinki-Stockholm and Turku-Stockholm services. For the next eleven years the Silja Festival remained on the Turku-Stockholm service, sailing parallel to the Silja Europa.

To bring her up to the most recent SOLAS standards, the Silja Festival was docked in Rauma in 2001. At the same time catalysators were added to the engines and aft sponsons were fitted for increased stability. In 2006 the ownership of Silja Line passed to Tallink. As a result of this the Silja Festival was (again) withdrawn from the Turku-Stockholm -service in July 2008. She was replaced by the Galaxy that had in turn been repalced by the new Baltic Princess. Following the withdrawal from Turku-Stockholm service the Silja Festival left the Silja Line fleet (after 22 years) and transferred to the fleet of Tallink, moving to their Stockholm-Riga service. She retained her Silja-prefixed name however and her livery was only minorly altered, with Tallink hull text replacing the Silja Line text and Tallink funnel symbols added on the funnel, which was now painted white. Somewhat confusingly, the Silja Festival is marketed sometimes under her full name, despite now being a Tallink ship, and at other times as simply "Festival".

The photographs below are of the Silja Festival arriving in Mariehamn on 8 October 2006, having sailed from Turku the same morning. Photographed from onboard Viking Line's Amorella. Click on the images to view larger size.

Visible on the sides of the bow are old Effoa bow symbols, a red circle with a yellow star in it. The ship still retains them today, 21 years after Effoa ceased to be.
The green water in this one is not so much concious design as an unavoidable result of getting rid of the excessive blue tint caused by my old camera. Still, the final result is a pretty spiffing photo.
Inbound to Mariehamn, with houses of the city visible of the left. Especially from this view the Silja Line side text looks like a quick, amateurish job (which it possibly was, back in 1994) that somewhat compromises the otherwise very stylish livery.

09 March 2011

Superfast VII, 9 March 2011

Superfast VII

IMO 9198941
Built 2001, HDW Kiel, Germany
Tonnage 30 285 GT
Length 203,30 m
Width 25,42 m
Draught 6,60 m
Ice class 1 A Super
626 passengers
626 berths
661 cars
1 891 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Sulzer diesels, combined 46 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 28,9 knots

Superfast VII was the first in a series of four identical ice-reinforced fast ferries built for use on routes around the Baltic Sea. The Superfast VII entered service on Superfast Ferries' new Hanko (Finland)-Rostock (Germany) route in May 2001. Two months later she was joined in the service by her sister Superfast VIII. In February 2006 Tallink, who had reportedly been planning beginning a Finland/Estonia-Germany service of their own, purchased the apparently profitable Baltic Sea operations of Superfast Ferries, taking over the Superfast VII, VIII and IX (the last havings transferred to the Finland-Germany service in 2005).

After Tallink took over the Hanko-Rostock service the route ran into trouble. The ships were moved from Greek to Estonian registry, but the Finnish Seamen's Union demanded that even under Estonian flag the ships would continue to follow the Finnish collective agreement of seaman's pay (this was due to the fact most of the crew of the Superfasts had been members of the Finnish Seamen's Union and the Finnish collective agreement had been followed even though the ships weren't under Finnish flag). The route was altered to Hanko-Paldiski-Rostock in April 2006 but this proved to be unfeasible and two months after it reverted to Hanko-Rostock.

From the beginning of 2007 the Tallink Superfasts' Finnish port was changed into Helsinki. Prior to the change there had been rumours that the ships would be moved under the corporate identity of Tallink's sudsidiary Silja Line, that had also been acquired in 2006, as Silja Line had previously operated between Finland and Germany with the famous Finnjet between 1987 and 2005. A Tallink representative even stated in an interview the company would be adopting the Finnjet brand for the Superfasts - however this would have been impossible as "Finnjet" is a trademark belonging to the ship's original owner Finnlines. In the end the Superfast VII, VIII and IX stayed under the Tallink brand when moved to sail from Helsinki. They did however retain the original red Superfast Ferries hulls.

Already in early 2007 the Superfast VII and her sisters' route was again altered, now to Tallinn-Helsinki-Rostock. In late 2008 the call in Tallinn was abandoned and soon afterwards the ships' harbour in Helsinki was moved from Länsisatama to Vuosaari. Competition in the Finland-Sermany routes had however been tightening since 2006, as Finnlines brought into service their new, large and fast Star-class ferries. Originally three of these were placed on a Helsinki-Travemünde service, but in 2009 two additional sisters joined them and Finnlines enlargened their services also to the Helsinki-Rostock -route.

Tallink had already chartered out the Superfast IX in 2008, but things were getting worse and for the winter seasons 2010 and 2011 both the Superfast VII and her sister were laid up. In March 2011 an agreement was signed between Tallink and Stena Line that the Superfast VII and VIII would be chartered to Stena for three years from the end of the 2011 summer season onwards, with option for another charter year and purchase. Reportedly the ships will be placed on Stena's service between Belfast and the new ferry port of Loch Ryan.

The photographs below show the Superfast VII departing from Helsinki's Länsisatama on 9 March 2011, during a brief period on the Helsinki-Tallinn service while the Star was being docked. Photographed from Vattuniemi. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Unfortunately the lighting was less than perfect... and my camera's cell could really use a clean.
Sleek, isn't she?
Heading towards Tallinn past Pihlajasaari.
Updated 11 March 2011: Stena's new port of Loch Ryan.

03 March 2011

Stena Germanica, 7 October 2006

Stena Germanica

IMO 7907659
Built 1987, Gdynia Stocnia i Komuni Paryski, Poland
Tonnage 39 178 GT
Length 175,37 m
Width 30,80 m
Draught 6,75 m
2 500 passengers
2 364 berths
569 cars
1 268 lanemetres
4 Zgoda-Sulzer diesels, combined 33 098 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

To clarify that which should have been evident from the build date, this is not the current (third) Stena Germanica but it's predecessor.

The second Stena Germanica was the first of four large identical ferries ordered by Stena Line from Polish shipyards in 1979. The first ship was originally planned to be called Stena Scandinavica and the second Stena Germanica, but the names were swapped during construction. The first ship of the series was launched in 1981, but due to the political unrest in Poland her and her sisters' construction was radically delayed. In 1986, seven years after the ships were ordered, none of them were completed and Stena renegotiated their build contracts. The first two ships, Stena Germanica and Stena Scandinavica would be completed with help from workers brought in from Sweden, while the order of the second pair, to be named Stena Polonica and Stena Baltica, was cancelled.

(The Stena Polonica was sold in 1988 to Fred. Olsen who planned on completing her for their Kristiansand-Hirsthals service as the Bonanza. This plan never materialized and the ship was resold in 1989 to ANEK who had the ship towed Perama where she was completed in 1992 as Kydon II though she was soon renamed El Venizelos. The El Venizelos has a slightly different superstructure from the first two sisters. The Stena Baltica meanwhile was only completed up to deck 7 at the time Stena cancelled the order and much equipment already installed, such as the engines, were stripped. In 1989 the hull was sold to Regency Cruises for completion into the cruise ship Regent Sky and towed to Perama to be completed. The bankruptcy of Regency Cruises' parent company in 1995 left the ship again laid up and incomplete. The ship, completely different from her sisters in the shape of her superstructure, has been laid up since, though in 2007 she was sold to new owners who supposedly planned to restart the construction process. In 2008 she was renamed Zoe).

Returning to the actual subject of this entry from the fascinating detour, the Stena Germanica arrived in Gothenburg in early 1987 and her fitting out was completed there. In April 1987 she was finally delivered to Stena and placed on Gothenburg-Kiel service, with extra sailings from Gothenburg to Frederikshavn during the summer months. After less than a year in service the Stena Germanica had to be drydocked with her bulbous bow rebuilt and an extra stalising plane fitted in her rear. In 1993 she was rebuilt with extra cabins and in side sponsons were added and some of the cabins were removed to create more space for freight. In 2007 her interiors were again rebuilt.

Following the deliry of Stena's new huge Stena Hollandica in 2010, the previous Stena Hollandica was transferred to the Gothenburg-Kiel route and she was renamed Stena Germanica. The old Stena Germanica was again rebuilt, renamed Stena Vision and entered service on the Karlskrona-Gdynia route in November 2011.

The photographs below show the Stena Germanica at Gothenburg on 7 October 2006. Photographed from onboard the Princess of Scandinvia. Click on the images to view full size.

Boxy 1980s design. Perhaps not the best advertisement in ship form for the company.
I find the open design of the aft superstructure particularly fascinating.