18 January 2013

Viking Grace in Turku, 16 January 2013

The newest ferry on the Baltic. The first newbuilt ferry on the Finland-Sweden run in twenty years. The first large passenger ship capable of operating with LNG (liquidised natural gas). The ship has been recieving a lot of well-deserved media attention (well, at least in Finland it has). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Viking Grace:

Viking Grace

IMO 9606900
Built 2013, STX Europe Turku, Finland
Tonnage 57 700 GT
Length 218,60 m
Width 31,80 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
2 800 passengers
2 876 berths
530 lane metres of cars
1 275 lane metres of cargo
4 Wärtsilä dual fuel (LNG/diesel) engines, combined 30 400 kW
2 fixed-pitch propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Service speed 21,8 knots
Maximum speed 25,6 knots

The Viking Grace was ordered by Viking Line from STX's Turku yard in October 2010 after prolonged negotiations and over a year of rumours and speculation (that started when Viking's then-CEO Nils-Erik Eklund hinted at a new order in June 2009). In light of the emissions regulations due to come into effect in 2015, various environmentally friendly technologies were looked into (such as LNG fuel, flettner rotors and fuel cells), but in the end the only major technological advance that made it through was LNG as fuel.

In addition to the deserved attention given to the ship thanks to her engine configuration, she has also recieved attention for her interiors. The public spaces have been the designed by the very hip Finnish interior architect firm dSign Vertti Kivi, who had previously never worked in ship interiors. There are interior images already all over the internet, but personally I recommend Timo Selkälä's report from the maiden voyage for interior photos. I will be going onboard in mid-February and shall be putting up images afterwards (naturally).

The Viking Grace was delivered to Viking Line on 10 January 2013. She left on her maiden voyage, a special all-inclusive two-night Turku-Stockholm-Turku trip, on 13 January and entered regular service on 15 January, replacing the Isabella (which in turn temporarily replaced the Amorella while she is being drydocked).

The photographs below show the Viking Grace arriving in Turku from her first regular Turku-Stockholm trip on the evening of 16 January 2013. The lighting was far from perfect when it came to photographing a moving object but these are my firts photos of the ship so I hope you're willing to tolerate some poor quality. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Viking are clearly not saving money with the lights.
Impressive, though.
The lights of Turku reflecting in the clouds make the background completely different from the above.
Notice the LNG tanks on the open deck (well, how could you not?). I think on this trip they were already running on diesel, as the LNG terminal in Nynäshamn that will serve the ship was not ready in time. The maiden voyage was done on LNG brought in from elsewhere, but for the rest of the strping the ship will sail on diesel.
The current and future largest ship on the Turku-Stockholm run: The Silja Europa (in the background) is slightly larger than the Viking Grace, but the SE will change to the Helsinki-Tallinn run next week, leaving the Grace to reign supreme.
Next time: Something! Having learned from all the times this winter when I've promised something and didn't post it, I shan't say anything this time around.