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.

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