11 November 2015

Superstar in Tallinn, 11 March 2014

We continue the deviation from advertized programming due to yesterday's news that Tallink have sold the Superstar to Corsica Ferries, effective next month, but she will be chartered back to Tallink until the completion of the new, larger fast ferry from Turku at the beginning of 2017.


IMO 9365398
Built 2008, Fincantieri Ancona, Italy
Tonnage 36 400 GT
Length 175,10 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 7,00 m
Ice class 1A
2 080 passengers
520 berths
665 cars
1 930 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 50 400 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 27,5 knots

So, with these changes it's maybe a good time to look at the brief history of the Superstar. She was ordered by Tallink from Fincantieri in August 2005, for delivery in spring 2008. The ship was based on the design of the Moby Wonder -class, which Fincantieri were heavily promoting at the time (they also negoatiated about building a ship of the same design for Viking Line). The Superstar was ordered at the same time as her eventual running mater Star, and originally both contacts included an option for a sister vessel. At the time there were plenty of rumours circulating around about the future deployment of the ships: the Star and her sister were expected to go to the Helsinki-Tallinn -line, while the Superstar and her potential sister were expected to open an Estonia-Germany service for Tallink. Other rumours suggested one pair would go on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route in competition with Stena Line. Tallink at the time also expressed interest in submitting a tender for the state-funded service between the island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland. In the end only the Germany service came true, by the virtue of Tallink buying Superfast Ferries' Baltic Sea operations. Neither sister ship option was taken up, and the somewhat mismatched pair of Star and Superstar took over Tallink's non-cruise Helsinki-Tallinn services.

The Superstar continued in service without incident for eight years. In late 2014 Tallink signed a memorandum of agreement to build a new, larger, LNG-powered fast ferry for the Helsinki-Tallinn route, which was confirmed as a firm order in February 2015. At the time the company reported no final decisions about the fate of the current Helsinki-Tallinn Shuttles had been made: the new ship could either replace one of them or join them as a fourth ship. However, in November a contact to sell the Superstar to Corsica Ferries was made public. She will change owners in December, but is chartered back to Tallink until the completion of the new ship from Turku. In early 2017, following delively of the as-of-yet unnamed new fast ferry, she will join Corsica Ferries' fleet as the Mega Express Six.

The photographs below show the Superstar arriving in Tallink on 11 March 2014. I did not publish these images at the time, keeping them under wraps for the Tallink – The First 25 Years book. Since the book is now out (and all of you should go and buy it), these photos will not spoil anything. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sisters are doing it for themselves: the inbound Superstar and the outbound Finlandia outside the harbour.
I'm really quite fond of the combination of the decaying concrete in the foreground.
Next time: Presumably, we'll hopefully finally get to the Azamara Quest.

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