28 April 2016

Sea Endurance in Helsingborg, 13 April 2016

Sea Endurance

IMO 8913904
Name history: Saqquit Ittuk, Disko II, Quest, Sea Endurance
Built 1992, Ørskov Staalskibsværft Frederikshavn, Denmark
Tonnage 1 268 GT
Length 49,65 m
Width 11,10 m
Draught 3,70 m
60 passengers
1 MAN-B&W diesel, combined 1 470 kW
1 propeller
1 bow thruster
Speed 13,4 knots

I think I mentioned in one of my earlier entries that I met with a surprise cruise ship while in Helsingborg recently. It was this one, the delightful little Sea Endurance, owned by SunStone Ships and due to be operated this summer by Albatros Expeditions. The ship has a fascinating history, on which I'd like to dwelve a bit deeper.

Originally, the Sea Endurance was one of three identical ships built for services with Arctic Umiaq Line along the coast of Greenland (Hurtigruten of Greenland would perhaps not be far off the mark). Designed by the Knud E. Hansen naval architect office and built by Ørskov in Denmark, the trio of ships were named Sarfaq Ittuk, Sarpik Ittuq and Saqqit Ittuk (the latter being "our ship"). I presume all names mean something in Greenlandic, but haven't been able to discover what. Originally, all three ships carried 150 passengers. The original livery of all three was quite eye-catching, a bright red hull with a turquise stripe along the main deck windows, and a yellow funnel.

The Sarfaq Ittuk and Sarpik Ittuq were both lengthened by a tad over 23 metres in 2000. The Saqqit Ittuk, meanwhile, retained her original dimensions. Here the details are a bit murky. My friend Bruce Peter gives the impression in his book Knud E. Hansen A/S - Ship Design Through Seven Decades that the three-ship service had proven expensive to run, and thus the Sarfaq Ittuk and Sarpik Ittuq were lengthened to allow the service to be run on just two ships. If this is the case, what did the Saqqit Ittuk do after the other ships were lengthened?

What can be said for certain is that in 2004 the Saqqit Ittuk sailed to exotic Tallinn, where she was converted to an expedition cruise ship with the name Disko II (after the Disko Bay on the west coast of Greenland, not the music genre). An observation lounge appears to have been added on her top deck at this point. After the conversion, the Disco II returned to Greenland, but now obviously as a cruise ship. In 2007 she passed under the ownership of International Shipping Partners and was renamed Quest, but continued in cruise service and appears to have continued to cruise around Greenland during the summers. At some point after 2007 the ship's aft superstructure was expanded; this may have been done during the winter 2009-2010, when she was laid up in Helsingborg.

In 2012, the Quest's owners International Shipping Partners merged with River Advice to form FleetPro. The change of owners had no particular effect in her operations. Another change in owners took place in late 2015, when FleetPro's seagoing operations became SunStone Ships. In April 2016, just a few days before I visited Helsingborg, the Quest was renamed Sea Endurance. (A purely personal opinion: Sea Endurance is a better name than Quest, but overall the ship has gone from bad to worse with names; Saqqit Ittuk, while difficult to pronounce, is by far the best name she ever had, and even the confusing Disko II was better than the current or previous name).

The Sea Endurance is due to enter service with Albatros Expeditions next summer. Somewhat amusingly, one of her future fleetmates is the Ocean Nova, aka the former Sarpik Ittuq. (Of the three sisters, only the Sarfaq Ittuk remains in the service they were built for).

So, to the photos! These show the recently-renamed Sea Endurance laid up in Helsingborg on the evening of 13 April 2016. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

At this point, they had only painted the name of the ship on the port side; as you can see the starboard side had only a reddish brown smudge. The ship was turned around the next day, so presumably the name was painted on the other side as well.
The lifeboat that drowns out the funnel - a post-2007 addition - does not particularly improve the ship's looks. But I can't really complain about her working ship profile.
Sea Endurance, with Helsingborg's impressive Rådhuset (Town Hall) in the background.
No name in the stern either at this point.
Kships will return.

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