Name history: Caraibe Jet, Polarstern, Karolin
Built 2000, International Shipyards Henderson, Australia
Tonnage 636 GT
Length 45,40 m
Width 12,32 m
Draught 2,02 m
4 MTU diesels, combined 7 840 kW
4 KaMeWa waterjets
Service speed 37 knots
The Karolin was originally ordered by Oceanfast Ferries under the name Caraibe Jet from the International Shipyards in Henderson, Western Australia. However, soon after the ship's sea trials in November 1995, Oceanfast went bankrupt. The unfinished Caraibe Jet was left at the shipyard, awaiting her fate. It was only five years later, in October 2000, that the Caraibe Jet was completed. Later during the same month she was sold to the German operator AG Ems. However, the ship required rebuilding to meet AG Ems' needs, and it was not until March 2001 that the ship was delivered to her owners. In the interim she had been renamed Polarstern.
In April 2001 the Polarstern entered service along Germany's North Sea coast on the route Papenburg-Ditzum-Emden-Emshaven-Borkum. At times the service was extended from Borkum to Helgoland. In September 2008 the Polarstern was sold to the Estonian fast ferry operator Linda Line. According to Fakta om Fartyg, the sale took place soon after the ship had suffered some damage during a particularly stormy crossing from Helgoland, but I do not know if this had any effect on the sale. Those interested in the history of Linda Line, there is a concise account in this entry about the Merilin.
The Polarstern was renamed Karolin in November 2008 (continuing Linda Line's tradition of using Estonian female names for their ships), but she did not enter service until after the winter lay-up period in April 2009. Since then the Karolin has continued in service between Helsinki and Tallinn alongside the Merilin - naturally with winter layups for the times when fast ferries cannot operate due to the sea ice.
The photographs below show the Karolin arriving in Helsinki South Harbour on the afternoon on 6 May 2011 via the southernly Särkkä shipping lane that is too shallow and narrow for most ships to use today. Click on the images to see them in larger size.
|The Karolin is actually quite a neat little thing. Though at a quick glance she resembles the Merilin, the pair are actually quite different.|
|As with the Merilin, Linda Line didn't change the livery of the Karolin from what she carried with her previous owners. Fortunately, the Karolin looks much better than the all-red Merilin.|
|Passing in front of Klippan (or Luoto, if you want to use the rarely-used Finnish name), with St. Peter Line's Princess Anastasia outbound in the background.|
|South Harbour calling.|