19 December 2012

Finlandia in Helsinki, 18 December 2012

During a two-week period around new year, no less than three new passenger ships sailing from Finnish port will be entering service. The first of these will be Eckerö Line's new Finlandia (ex-Moby Freedom), which will enter service on the Helsinki-Tallinn run on 31 December. She will be followed by the Wasa Express (ex-Travemünde, Travemünde Link, Sally Star, Thjelvar, Color Traveller, Rostock, Betancuria) on the Vaasa-Umeå run on 4 January, and by the Viking Grace on the Turku-Stockholm run on 13 January. For the last two mentioned you will have to wait for a bit, but the Finlandia arrived in Helsinki for the first time yesterday. Of course, I went to photograph the ship.


IMO 9214379
Name history: Moby Freedom, Freedom, Finlandia
Built 2001 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Heavy Machinery Okpo, South Korea
Tonnage 36 093 GT
Length 175 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 7 m
2080 passengers
1190 berth
665 cars
1950 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27 knots

(Capacity data is preliminary).

The newest (fifth overall) Finlandia begun her life as as Moby Lines' Moby Freedom. She was built in 2001 by Daewoo in South Korea as a sister ship to Moby Wonder, completed some months previously. The plans of these newbuildings (unless I'm terribly mistaking, Moby's first newbuilt ships) were drawn up by Fincantieri but for some reason unknown to me the ships were built by Daewoo instead. Fincantieri later built two slightly refined examples of the same class, Moby Aki to Moby and Superstar to Tallink.

The Moby Freedom entered service with Moby in July 2001, sailing on their routes conencting Olbia to Genoa, Civitavcchia and Livorno. She was designed for flexible operations, sailing in cruiseferry mode during weekends and the summer high season and in ropax mode with less passenger services during weekdays. Originally the Moby Freedom was painted in a fairly traditional livery with a while hul land superstructure, the Moby name painted in large blue letters and a light blue funnel. However, soon Moby entered an agreement with Warner Bros. to use their Looney Tunes characters on the Moby ships and the Moby Freedom was repainted with Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Tasmanian Devil, Tweety, Sylvester and Daddy Duck on her sides.

After serving with Moby for a little over a decade, in February 2012 the Moby Freedom was sold to the Finnish Eckerö Line, with a delivery date in March. Once sold the ship's name was shortened to Freedom and she sailed to the Öresundsvarved in Landskrona, Sweden. The ship lay at the shipyard for two months while negotiations for her refit were carried out and eventually the refit started in May. In June Eckerö Line announced that as a result of a naming competition the ship would be renamed Finlandia.

In the beginning of November the Finlandia left Öresundsvarvet for Tallinn, where the interior refits would be continued. In 17 December the Finlandia left Tallinn for the first time for Helsinki, where she arrived in the early hours of the 18th, mooring at the South Harbour where finishing touches will be applied to her interiors in preparation for entering service on New Year's Eve.

The photographs below show the Finlandia at Helsinki South Harbour on the afternoon of 18 December 2012. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

I must admit I quite like the livery. The new Eckerö Line logo works marvellously and the application of the blue colour is well thought-out. The only thing that jars the whole a bit is the Finnish flag, but at least it's more tastefully done than has been the case on the Nordlandia. And it's almost acceptable for a ship named Finlandia.
Facing off with Viking Line's Gabriella. The two ships are actually roughtly the same size in terms of gross tons, though the Finlandia is certainly bulkier.
Although you would think the notes on the bow are from Jean Sibelius' Finlandia, they are in fact the opening notes of the Finnish national anthem Maamme. Which is a bit lame, Finlandia would have been far more suitable. Interestingly, the notes continue on the other side of the ship and hence the two sides are not identical.
Couldn't resist a bit of panoramic fiddling.
Finnish winter, South Harbour at 5 PM and it's pitch dark. A shame they only put on the lights illuminating the side of the ship at this point, when I was already far too froster to go back and take more photographs from a bow-view.
Next time: Baltic Princess.


  1. Tack sin trevliga och hjälpsamma blogg, jag gillar det och jag tycker att det är mycket bra och intressant, hålla upp det,