31 August 2014

Fortuny in Barcelona, 9 August 2014


IMO 9216585
Built 2001, Astilleros Españoles Puerto Real, Spain
Tonnage 28 275 GT
Length 172,60 m
Width 26,20 m
Draught 6,20 m
972 passengers
748 berths
350 cars
1 809 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 28 960 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Maximum speed 23,5 knots

The Fortuny was one of two "superferries" delivered to Compañia Trasmediterránea in summer 2001, shortly before the state-owned firm was privatized. The Fortuny and her slightly-older sister Sorolla remain Trasmediterránea's largest vessels to date.

Unusually for a pair of modern sister ships, the Sorolla and Fortuny were built at the same time by different yards: the Sorolla at Hijos de J. Barreras and the Fortuny at Astilleros Españoles. The former was delivered in May 2001, with the Fortuny following just one month later. It seems that initially both ships were placed in traffic from Palma de Mallorca to Valencia and Barcelona. In autumn 2002 the Fortuny also briefly sailed from Cadiz to the Canary Isles, before returning to the Palma de Mallorca run.

In autumn 2005 the Fortuny was, alongside with the rest of the Trasmediterránea fleet, repainted in new colours. The previous livery with blue and green stripes on a white background was replaced with a somewhat less adventurous white-and-red colour scheme. At the same time the name of the company on the ship's sides was amended into Acciona Trasmediterránea, with the name of the main owners written in large latters and Trasmediterránea redelegated into small print.

In spring 2006 the Fortuny was used to open a new passenger ferry service for Trasmediterránea, when she begun sailing between Bilbao and Portsmouth. The new service was a resounding failure, as it was closed down already in January 2007. After this the Fortuny was used on the long Cadiz-Canaries run, but seems to have been moved back to the Baleric island services by 2010 at latest. Like all Trasmediterránea ships, the Fortuny recieved an amendment to her livery in 2013, when the order of the company names was reversed on her side: now Trasmediterránea is again written in large type, while Acciona is in a smaller font.

The photographs below show the Fortuny arriving in Barcelona on the evening of 9 August 2014. I apologise for the similar points-of-view as on the previous shots, unfortunately the place did not offer too much in the way of variance. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The open bridge wings are a rather unusual feature on a ship built during the 21st century - though I understand they are undoubtedly more practical in the Med than on the Baltic.
To be honest, I don't think this is the most successful ferry exterior design... although the forward open decks seem to be very popular, at least.
In keeping with our theme of featuring the subject of the next entry in the background, you can just glimpse at the (severely delayed) Cruise Barcelona in the horizon on the left.
One thing that must be said for the bulky exterior is that it makes the ship appear much bigger than she really is. The Fortuny is only marginally larger than the Martín i Soler, though the latter looks much smaller to my eyes.
The social ferry.
Turning towards the quay, with the Barcelona World Trade Center in the background. Also notice the aforementioned Martín i Soler at quay behind the WTC.
Next time: Cruise Barcelona.

27 August 2014

Martín i Soler in Barcelona, 9 August 2014

Martín i Soler

IMO 9390367
Built 2009, Astilleros Barreras Vigo, Spain
Tonnage 24 761 GT
Length 165,30 m
Width 25,60 m
Draught 5,70 m
1 200 passengers
312 berths
330 cars
1 720 lanemeters
2 MaK diesels, combined 18 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Maximum speed 22 knots

For the longest time I thought the name of this ship is Martin I Soler (as in Martin the First Soler), presumedly named after some obscure Aragonian royalty. This is not the case; instead, the ship is named after the Catalan composer Vicent Martín i Soler (perhaps better known with the Spanish spelling of his name, Vicente Martín y Soler). The original Martín i Soler was a contemporary of the today-better known Mozart, and during their lifetimes Martín i Soler was held to be the better composer of the two.

The ship Martín i Soler was ordered by the Spanish ferry operator Balearia in spring 2006 from the Astilleros Barreras shipyard in Vigo, Spain. The design of the ship strongly resembles the five-ship newbuilding series delivered by the same shipyard to Armas between 2004 and 2007. Two further designs derived from the Armas ships were delivered to Balearia in 2010, the SF Alhucemas and Abel Matutes.

The Martín i Soler was delivered in January 2009. As is evident from the company name Balearia serves the Balearic Islands, and the Martín i Soler was placed on service from Barcelona to Mahon and Ibiza. Later on during the same year she appears to have changed to the Valencia-Ibiza route. Precise information on her current service is hard to come by - the Balearia website for instance gives very little information. She does however appear to sail from Barcelona to both Alcudia and Ibiza - and as she carries a text advertising Valencia on her side, it's safe to assume she sails there as well.

The photographs below show the Martín i Soler arriving in the port of Barcelona on the evening of 9 August 2014. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

There was an aeroplane in the background of this photo. I didn't like it so I airbrushed it out.
I have to say I quote like the unorthodoc livery Balearia uses. The funnel symbol could be a bit better though.
Sailing inside the breakwater.
In the background on the left is our next subject, Trasmediterránea's Fortuny.
Notice the fact the ship is registered at Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Canary Islands - presumably it's cheaper to register a ship there than somewhere else in Spain.
Aft views of arrivals in Barcelona from this vantage point are problematic, as there is so much of the city in the background adding confusing details the ship blends into.
Next time: Fortuny

23 August 2014

Tenacia in Barcelona, 9 August 2014


IMO 9350707
Built 2008, Nuovi Canterie Apuani Marina di Carrara, Italy
Tonnage 24 950 GT
Length 199,14 m
Width 26,60 m
Draught 6,40 m
869 passengers
268 berths
600 cars
2 623 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 24 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Maximum speed 25 knots

The Estrella Damm - I mean the Tenacia - was completed in 2008 by the Nuovi Canterie Apuani shipyard in Italy for Grimaldi's Grandi Navi Veloci traffic. She was the third unit in a series of eight roro ferries ordered by Grimaldi. Some ships in the series were sold to other operations before completion, and thus only five units in the series actually entered service for Grimaldi.

On delivery the Tenacia was chartered by Grimaldi to Grandi Navi Veloci and entered service on Grandi Navi Veloci's Genoa-Barcelona service, on which she remained until late 2011. At that point the Tenacia was chartered to Acciona Trasmediterránea. She remained in service to and from Barcelona, sailing from Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona and Valencia. Initially she was painted in the standard Acciona Trasmediterránea livery, but in spring 2014 this was altered to colours advetising the Barcelonian beer Estrella Damm. In a particularly unfortunate move the name of the beer brand was painted on the ship's bow, at the location where the ship's own name is usually displayed.

Despite the confusing advertisement, the ship's name remains the Tenacia and she is still sailing on the same service for Trasmediterránea today, the company having largely dropped the name of their parent from their name. Reportedly Acciona aims to sell Trasmediterránea by the end of the year, so soon the Tenacia might be in for another livery change.

The photographs below show the Tenacia arriving at Barcelona on the evening of 9th August 2014. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Doing a sharp turn just before sailing inside the harbour breakwater.
Now look at where the advertisement is painted and where the ship's name is. Is it any wonder I first thought she was named Estrella?
In the background the next ship of the day, Baleria's Martin i Soler, is nearing the harbour...
Some camera lens distortion from taking a photo on such a wide angle.
In the harbour basin. The Trasmediterránea funnel colours are a bit nonstandard in this ship, normally the white band is much narrower.
Barcelona World Trade Center on the left. Also notice the cables of the cable car across the harbour in the background.
Next time: Martin i Soler.

13 August 2014

Serenissima in Helsinki, 6 August 2014

Between travels, I give you this pre-prepared entry of one of my favourite ships. Unfortunately, you will have to wait a while longer for images from Barcelona, so that I'll have time to look through them and edit them for publication.


IMO 5142657
Previous names: Harald Jarl, Andrea
Built 1960, Trondhjems Mekaniske Verksted, Norway
Tonnage 2 632 GT
Length 87,41 m
Width 13,29 m
Draugth 4,62 m
110 passengers
B&W Akers diesel, 2 538 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

A history of the Serenissima has been covered in the first entry on her. The photographs below show the ship departing Helsinki South Harbour, photographed from Lyypekinlaituri (in the said harbour). Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Unfortunately the ship's departing manoeuvre was such that more bow-on photos than this were impossible to take. Still, the weather was nice and the ship pretty so I cannot complain.
As evident from the banner on the side of the ship and the flags, this visit was made while the ship was under charter to Noble Caledonia.
A slightly wider point of view. The brown trees in the background are a testament to the fact that this summer has been extremely dry.
Although the hull looks black in most images, it is in fact very dark blue.
Sailing outwards. Soon the ship will pass my more regular photo haunts Lonna and Suomenlinna.

07 August 2014

Knossos Palace in Piraeus, 10 November 2013

And now for something completely different. I'll be leaving for Barcelona this Friday and I'm naturally hoping to photograph some ships there that I won't normally see here. Anticipating this, the photos I've taken in Helsinki over the summer suddenly seem rather boring... so I'm digging through the archives and giving you, for the first time, images taken during my Eastern Mediterranean cruise last November on HAL's Rotterdam.

Knossos Palace

IMO 9204063
Built 2000, Fincantieri Sestri Ponente Genoa, Italy
Tonnage 37 482 GT
Length 214 m
Width 26,40 m
Draught 7,10 m
2 320 passengers
758 berths
660 cars
1 550 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 67 200 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Maximum speed 31,6 knots

The Knossos Palace was completed in 2000 as the first ship in Minoan Lines' ambitious early-2000s newbuilding programme, which consisted of no less than seven ships delivered by two shipyards in the span of four years. The Knossos Palace and her sister Festos Palace were delivered by Fincantieri in 2000 and 2001, followed by the second, slightly different pair Olympia Palace and Europa Palace also from Fincantieri in 2001 and 2002. At the same time Samsung delivered three further units in 2001-2002: the Prometheus, Oceanus and Ariadne Palace.

All seven ships, designed before the price of fuel skyrocketed during the 2000s, were built with very high service speeds in mind. The Knossos Palace's envisioned service speed was a whopping 29,5 knots, which meant cutting the crossing time on the intra-Greece service from Piraeus to Heraklion on the island of Crete from ten to just six hours. Such speeds are no longer economical to maintain however, and today the Knossos Palace appears to make the crossing in nine hours.

While the other Minoan Lines newbuildings of the early 2000s, delivered for use on the  trans-Adriatic routes from Patras to Ancona and Venice, have since left the company fleet, being either sold or chartered out, the Knossos Palace and her sisters appear to be successful and enduring investments, continuing service on the Pierus-Heraklion route to this day.

The photographs below show the Knossos Palace in the port of Piraeus on 10 November 2013, photographed from onboard Holland America Line's Rotterdam. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The flagstaff on the left is a bit annoying, but this photo had the nicest light on the side of the ship. Personally I really preferred Minoan's earlier livery, where the sides of the funnel were red but the rest was dark green (as were the company hull markings).
Lovely clouds here set the tone of a photo of the Knossos Palace with her rival, ANEK's Olympic Champion (how the latter's name got past the Olympic Committee is beyond me).
Once more, with feeling!
As a final note, since I will be leaving for Barcelona on Friday (so technically tomorrow, as it's past midnight as I type this), and will later on continue from Barcelona almost direct to the Åland Islands, this might easily be the last update for the next two weeks or so.

03 August 2014

Funchal in Helsinki, 2 August 2014

Today we look at a true classic, a 53-year old ship lovingly preserved in pristine condition and one that - despite numerous changes of ownership - has retained her original name through-out those years: the Funchal.


IMO 5124162
Built 1961, Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri, Denmark
Tonnage 9 563 GT
Length 154,60 m
Width 19,05 m
Draught 6,50 m
481 passengers (lower berths)
610 passengers (maximum)
2 Stork-Werkspoor diesels, combined 7 356 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Service speed 17 knots

The Funchal was built in 1961 at Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri in Helsingør (or Elsinore, if you want to use the English name) in Denmark for the Portugal-based Empresa Insulana de Navegacao for intra-Portugese traffic from Lisbon to Madeira and the Azores. Naturally the name Funchal comes from Madeira's capital (and largest) city. Although today the Funchal is powered by diesel engines, her original power plant consisted of two steam turbines.

For the next eleven years after her delivery the Funchal remained in service to Madeira, despite dropping passenger numbers. An airport had been opened in Madeira in 1964, and unsurprisingly passengers who had previously gone to the island over sea now chose to travel faster by air. In 1972, following problems with the ship's steam engines, she was withdrawn from service. However, this did not mean her demise. Instead, the ship was rebuilt into a diesel-powered cruise ship over the change of year from 1972 to 1973 in Amsterdam.

In 1973 the Funchal re-entered service, now as a cruise ship. The following year her ownership was transferred to Cia. Portuguesa des Transportes Maritimos. Presumably at this point she was repainted with new, orange-dominated funnel colours and a white cruise-style hull colour. The Funchal continued cruising for Cia. Portuguesa des Transportes Maritimos until 1985, when she was laid up and placed for sale. The lay-up was short, as already during the same year she was sold to Arcalia Shipping. Under Arcalia ownership she continued in cruise service, now repainted in Arcalia's yellow-blue funnel colours.

In the 1990s, Arcalia Shipping morphed into Classic International Cruises and the Funchal recieved CIC's white funnel colours. She continued to be popular, but at the end of the first decade of the new millenium a threat loomed over her that many classic ships faced at the time: new SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) regulations, which required for the ship to be rebuilt in order to continue in service. Many owners would have simply sent the ship for scrap at this juncture. Bu not CIC's Georgios Potamianos. The Funchal was withdrawn from service in Autumn 2010 for a refit that would bring her up to SOLAS 2010 standards.

However, it turned out that CIC did not have enough funds to complete the refit. Georgios Potamianos passed away in spring 2012, and soon afterwards his heirs Alexandros and Emilios got into difficulty with CIC's main funders Banco Montepio Geral. In Autumn 2012 all CIC ships were arrested. Things now looked very bleak for the Funchal - I will freely admit I expected her next destination to be the scrapyard.

But then something wonderful happened again. The Portugese businessman Rui Alegre purchased the CIC ships taken over by Banco Montepio Geral - including the Funchal, of course - and started a new company, Portuscale Cruises. The Funchal's refit was completed, and she was repainted in colours similar (but not entirely identical) to her original Empresa Insulana de Navegacao livery.

The Funchal was due to re-enter service in August 2013, but a delay in the finishing of her refit and then a missing passenger certificate meant that two cruises had to be cancelled, before the ship finally re-initiated her career in September 2013 on a cruise from Gothenburg. Despite the un-auspicious start the Funchal seems to have gained popularity, making rather fantastic cruises under the Portuscale flag. In October 2014 she will briefly be chartered to Cruise & Maritime Voyages for two cruises from Bristol, before returning to the "normal" Portuscale itineraries.

The photographs below show the Funchal departing Helsinki on the afternoon of 2 August 2014, on her first visit as a Portuscale Cruises ship to my home city. Photographed from Lonna. Click on the individual images to see them in larger size.

Way markers and buyous, very nautical. The Hanasaari B coal-powered power plant in operation in the background does somewhat diminish the effect...
I'm afraid there is a less foreground crap from the usual in these images, as Lonna isn't quite as good for those as my normal haunts. Plus I wanted to document the ship properly, this being the first time I see her in real life.
They don't make 'em like they used to.
Love the shape of the stern - it's actually been rebuilt sometime during the ship's CIC career, but personally I think the added section actually improves the ship's looks.
Okay, a bit of foreground crap too (the some barnacle geese, which are very numerous in Lonna). When taking the photo I did not notice the thick plume of black smoke eminating from behind the Funchal's stern... and I still have no idea what it was.