11 June 2014

Eckerö in Eckerö, 9 June 2014

Eckerö

IMO 7633155
Name history: Jens Kofoed, Eckerö
Built 1979, Aalborg Værft Aalborg, Denmark
Tonnage 12 358 GT
Length 121,19 m
Width 24,50 m
Draught 5,25 m
Ice class 1B
1 630 passengers
481 berths
267 cars
515 lane metres
4 B&W Alpha diesels, combined 12 484 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 20,5 knots

We're continuing the successful streak of the past few weeks of posting images of ships not previously featured in this blog. Today's entry is a real beauty from the nearby waters: the Eckerö of Eckerö Linjen.

The Eckerö was originally built in 1979 as the Jens Kofoed for the Danish publicly-owned Bornholmstrafiken. Bornholmstrafiken had been nationalised in 1973, and soon afterwards it was decided the company would require two newbuilt ships to replace the existing fleet of four aged vessels. The first ship, the Povl Anker, was delivered in late 1978, and she was followed by the Jens Kofoed a few month afterwards. Both ships were used on on the Copenhagen-Rønne -route, which was extended from Rønne to Ystad in Sweden. Originally the ships were painted in an absolutely superb livery with the black-red-white funnel colours of Danish state-owned ferry operations, grey hulls, and yellow masts (for images of the ship in original livery, visit for instance Simplon Postcards).

In the mid-1990s the ships lost their attractive grey hulls in favour of white ones with Bornholmstrafiken written on near the stern. In 1997 the Jens Kofoed was rebuilt with additional cabins. A further refit at Remontowa in Gdansk, carried out in 2001, saw the addition of side sponsons - somewhat harming the ship's original attractive profile. At the same time the onboard tax-free shop was replaced by lounges.

Bornholmstrafiken took delivery of a new pair of larger ships in 2005, the Hammerodde and Dueodde, and the Jens Kofoed was sold to Rederi Ab Eckerö in Finland, for service with their subsidiary Eckerö Linjen. The new owners renamed the ship Eckerö (she was the second ship in their fleet with that name) and subjected her to a radical refit. The hull was reinforced to comply with the demands of the Finnish-Swedish ice class 1B, while the entire interiors was rebuilt, designed by the Ålandian architect Bettina Ingves. Externally, the Eckerö was painted in the traditional white-hulled livery with blue/yellow stripes on the hull.

The Eckerö eventually re-entered service for Eckerö Linjen in 2006, on their sole line linking Eckerö in the Åland Islands to Grisslehamn, Sweden. In Eckerö Linjen fleet the Eckerö replaced the papenburger-type ferry Alandia. Initially, the Alandia's sister ship Roslagen was retained as a second ship alongside the Eckerö, used to provide additional capacity during the summer seasons. In 2007 the Roslagen was sold and the Eckerö became the sole ship in Eckerö Linjen service.

Originally the Eckerö was registered in her namesake port, but in 2009 she was moved under the Swedish flag, with Grisslehamn as her home port. An important contributing factor were the onboard sale of snus; the tobacco product is illegal in most of the European Union, but it can be sold in Sweden and onboard Swedish-registered ships - therefore the Swedish registry is an important competitive advance. In the beginning of 2013 the company held a Facebook competition to choose a new livery for the ship. The variant chosen was a blue-and-yellow seagull motif on a white background, a changed typeface on the company logo on the hull, with the funnel colours slightly altered by the removal of the blue funnel top and repainting the funnel symbol in a slightly smaller scale. Personally, while I think overall the new livery is very attractive, the funnel looked more balanced when its top was painted blue.

The photographs below were taken on the afternoon of 9 June 2014 and show the Eckerö arriving at, and departing from, Berghamnen in Eckerö. Photographed from the breakwater outside the harbour. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

The sun was behind a cloud as the ship arrived, and resultingly this image (and the two below) had to be heavily edited to bring the ship out from the almost identically coloured clouds in the background.
Impressive rain clouds in the background.
About to pass into the harbour basin and reverse to quay.
About half an hour later, the Eckerö depart again. The crossing between Eckerö and Grisslehamn in the shortest route between Sweden and Finland, taking only two hours. The Eckerö makes two or three return trips every day.
More impressive rain clouds.
Forward views on this visit were a bit rare to come by, but this one turned out rather nice.
Foreground crap, courtesy of particularly nicely placed rocks.
Taking course for Grisslehamn. Various sea birds were rather common in Grisslehamn - I hope photography from the breakwater didn't unduly disturb them.
Next stop Sweden, as the old advertisement slogan went.
(A note on the tags for this entry: I've decided not to create a separate tag for Eckerö Linjen. Instead, this and any possible future Eckerö Linjen entries will be sorted under Eckerö Line).

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