20 April 2011

Finnstar, 3 April 2007


IMO 9319442
Built 2006, Fincantieri Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
Tonnage 45 923 GT
Length 218,80 m
Width 30,50 m
Draught 7,00 m
Ice class 1 A Super
500 passengers
500 berths
4 216 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 25 knots

There is little to say about the Finnstar that wouldn't have already been covered in the first entry on the ship. But since the current Finnstar is in fact the third ship with that name to sail in Finnlines' fleet, I thought it might be interesting to take a short look at the histories of the first two ships named Finnstar.

The first Finnstar was acquired by Finnlines' (then-)owner Merivienti Oy in 1959. She was a 2 914 GRT general cargo ship built in 1955 by a Dutch shipyard for the Finland-based Lovisa Rederi Ab. Originally named Raimo-Ragnar, she was renamed Finnstar when taken over by Finnlines. She was initially used on Finnlines' services from Finland to US East Coast, but changed to Finland-Mediterranean services in 1962. In 1973 she was sold to Maldives Shipping Ltd. and nine years sold for scrap.

The second Finnstar had been built in 1967 for Finland Steamship Company as their Finland-West Germany ferry Finlandia. When Finnlines took over the entire Finland-West Germany passenger services in 1975, they also bought the Finlandia. She continued sailing until 1977 and the delivery of the new Finnjet. Now Finnlines were faced with a problem: they needed a second ship to serve alongside the Finnjet during the busy summer season, but during the winters the Finnjet sailed half-empty and no second ship was needed. As a solution the decision was made to rebuild the Finlandia's facilities to meet cruise ship standards but retain half of her cardeck. To complete the transformation she was renamed Finnstar before re-entering service in early 1979.

The Finnstar (2) was envisioned to continue sailing for the next five years, maintaining a Helsinki-Copenhagen-Travemünde ferry service alongside short cruises to Leningrad during the summer months and cruising on the Mediterranean and west coast of Africa for the rest of the year. This was not the success Finnlines had hoped for and combined with raising labor costs Finnlines decided already in Autumn 1980 to give up the Finnstar. The ship was sold and converted to a full-time cruise ship, enjoying a long career mostly in Far Eastern waters (and even short stint with Costa Cruises in the mid-1990s). She was scrapped in 2009.

After the withdrawal of the second Finnstar in 1980 the name remained unused for over two decades, until the delivery of the current Finnstar in 2006. Sadly, the current ship is not a graceful as her predecessors.

The photographs below show the (current) Finnstar departing the Sompasaari freight harbour on 3 April 2007. Photographed from Katajanokka. Click on the individual images to view larger size.

Already at this point the paint in the bow is bluer than on the rest of the hull, as on the photographs I had taken a year later. Fellow shipping enthustiast would probably blame italian workmanship.
Departing stormy Helsinki for calmer Germany, perhance? On the background we have Hanasaari power plant on the left and (probably) Korkeasaari, the location of Helsinki Zoo, on the right. Alternatively it could also be Mustikkamaa, the larger island north of Korkeasaari.
And suddenly, the colours change completely with the sun obscured and the dark clouds gone. One minute had passed from the previous pic.
On Kruunuvuorenselkä bound for the Kustaanmiekka strait, the "final obstacle" before open sea.

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