Built 2007, Aker Finnyards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 36 250 GT
Length 186,00 m
Width 27,70 m
Draugth 6,50 m
Ice class 1A
1 900 passengers
1 981 lanemeters
4 MaK diesels, combined 48 000 kW
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 27,7 knots
It seems that the history of the Star has never been covered in this blog before, I guess it's high time we look at it. Not that there would have been too many events during the history of the ship to date.
The ship that eventually became the Star was contracted from Aker Finnyards in August 2008. During the research process for Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland, I discovered that the final design of the Star had been preceeded by various different proposals by the shipyard for a Helsinki-Tallinn ferry, none of which had been considered satisfactory by Tallink. In the end, a design based on the SeaFrance Rodin was acceptable (in part perhaps because it was cheaper to build a near-sister to an existing ship). Originally, the contract included an option of a sister ship, but this was never taken up and instead, the Star would be paired with the Fincantieri-built Superstar.
Although designed by Aker Finnyards' Rauma yard, the Star was built at the company's Helsinki facility, which at the time specialised in building ferries. The ship was delivered in April 2007, approximately one week late due to problem with one of the engines. Once in service, the Star pretty much revolutionised the Helsinki-Tallinn route, being the first ship to combine a high service speed with the onboard amenities of a large ferry. Incidentally, the ship's interiors – designed by the Finnish company Aprocos and the Estonian architect Pille Lausmäe – attracted much positive comment. The same cannot be said for the lime-green livery, also the work of Aprocos (I think it's quite fetching, to be honest).
Since April 2007, the Star has remained on the Helsinki-Tallinn line, almost without incident. In December 2013, the internal ramp leading to the upper car deck collapsed while the ship was about to start unloading in Helsinki. In the end, the ship has to sail back to Tallinn, where the upper car deck could be emptied using the floating ramp left there from the days when Tallink's three Superfast ferries served the port.
In winter 2017, coinciding with the arrival of the Megastar, the Star was rebuilt for twin-level loading and unloading (provisions for which had been there from the start), with a small alteration to the ship's bow in the process. Rumour has it that the ship was due to be lengthened in 2018, to bring its capacities closer to the Megastar. If such plans ever existed, they were clearly abandoned in favour of contracting a sister ship to the Megastar, which Tallink announced as their intention earlier this summer. This intention also indicates that the Star's time in the Tallink fleet is running to a close – as Tallink have not other routes for which the ship would be suitable, the arrival of a Megastar sister will surely mean the older ship's sale out of the fleet.
Anyway, onwards to the photos! The show the Star arriving in Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) on the evening of 5 August 2018. Photographed, unusually, from the submerged isthmus linking Sisä-Hattu to Vattuniemi – I was leaving the island after the departure of the Princess Anastasia, without realising the Star was incoming. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.
|Sisä-Hattu in the foreground. Yes, I was standing in the sea when I took these. There was a convinient stone there that I could put my backpack and shoes on.|
|The lighting was somehow hugely challenging for my camera, giving widely different hues for the storm clouds in the background for different frames.|
|Apparently, the ideal way of turning when arriving at the new Länsiterminaali 2 was tested in a model tank to discover the ideal way.|
|Interestingly, the Star still hasn't been painted with the new-style Tallink logos, instead retaining the old italic font. If the ship is to be replaced soon, it might be the text is never updated.|
|Notice the little bit of white railing missing from the top of the bow compared to the earlier pictures of the Star here – this was removed to allow the twin-level loading mentioned in the text above.|