16 April 2016

Skiftet in the Åland Archipelago, 9 June 2015

Good whatever time of the day is when you're reading this, dear readers. I returned yesterday from a rather delightful (if somewhat exhausting) trip to Sweden, Denmark and Norway. My main purpose was to visit the head office of Tillberg Design, something that you can read about in the next issue of Cruise Business Review. Also crammed into the trip was photographing the ferries sailing between Helsingborg and Helsingør (plus travel on one of them), a surprise cruise ship and a crossing between Copenhagen and Oslo on the Pearl Seaways. All that will come up when I have time to prepare the photos for publication. While we wait for that, this week's update will be something completely different: the Skiftet, one of the small ferries operated by the Åland Provincial Government (Ålands Landskapsstyrelse) on routes connecting Finland to Åland.


IMO 8412807
Built 1985, Laivateollisuus Turku, Finland
Tonnage 961 GT
Length 48,52 m
Width 10,72 m
Draugth 3,90 m
Ice class 1A
200 passengers
25 cars and 4 trucks
2 Wärtsilä Vasa diesels, combined 1 606 kW
2 propellers (?)
Speed 14 knots

The Skiftet was one of two archipelago ferries delivered by the Laivateollisuus shipyard (a part of the state-owned Valmet industry conglomerate) in 1985 for Ålands Landskapsstyrelse; the other was the Knipan. Unlike the Knipan, the Skiftet was based on an earlier Laivateollisuus-built ship, the Gudingen, although the pair are not exactly identical. The ship was named after a stretch of open water between the Turku and Åland archipelagos, named Kihti in Finnish (naturally, Åland government ships have Swedish-language names). On delivery, the Skiftet was placed on the "northern line" service linking Hummelvik to Torsholma via Enklinge, Kumlinge and Lappo.

In 1990, when the new Alfågeln was delivered, the Skiftet shifted to join her sister Gudingen on the "southern line", linking Galtby to Långnäs via Kökar, Kyrkogårdsö, Husö, Sottunga and Överö. And this is the service on which the Skiftet remains to this day, so there isn't that much else to say, really.

The photos below show the Skiftet probably between Överö and Långnäs in the Åland archipelago, with most likely Bredskär in the background (thank you to Mikko-Oskari Koski and Harri Molsa for helping hunt down the location at the Ahvenanmaan saaristolautat Facebook group). The photos were taken from the passing Baltic Princess, which was running a special schedule due to a concert cruise of the Finnish metal band Nightwish held onboard, and as such you probably can't take this photo under normal circumstances. (And for the record, I don't much like Nightwish, but my wife does, so I grudgingly participated). As always, you can click on the images to see them in larger size.

She's a lovely little thing, isn't she?
Notice the flag of Åland flying from the mast. There's also a notably smaller flag of Finland, obscured by the mast in this shot.
Most of the other Ålandstrafiken ferries have a blue stripe along the windows of the passenger deck. I think the Skiftet looks much better than her fleetmates as she's all white. While I'm normally a fan of putting more colour on a ship, on such a small craft all white works nicely.
The funnel symbol, in case you were wondering, is the coat of arms of Åland.
Off she goes!
Kships will return.

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