24 August 2017

Stockholm in Stockholm, 18 August 2017

It's been a while since the last update. I can happily say that Innovation and Specialisation - The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland is nearing completion (and it's looking awesome), and I'm finally at a point when there's no pending workload. Meanwhile, last month my trusted Canon EOS 500D camera broke, and I was briefly forced to revert to the old 350D - but the shipspotter extraordinnaire Marko Stampehl sold me his old 7D camera (at a price I could afford), so overall everything worked out better than expected. That said, I've only been able to "take out" the camera just once so far - the results of which you can see below.


IMO 5193890
Name history: Öland, Korsholm III, Korsholm, Öland, Korsholm, Korsholm av Wästerås, Stockholm
Built 1931, Oskarshamns Varv, Sweden
Tonnage 421 GRT
Length 48,79 m
Width 8,56 m
Draught 3,50 m
350 passengers (summer)/250 passengers (winter)
Steam engine, 710 kW
2 Volvo-Penta diesels, combined 750 kW
1 propeller
Speed 11 knots

Why are we looking at a small achipelago cruise ship, you may ask? Well, the reason is that the Stockholm (in addition to being rather neat-looking) was also back in the day the first roll-on roll-off car ferry to sail between Finland and Sweden. So let us dwelve into the story of this fascinating ship!

The Stockholm was built in 1931 as the Öland by Oskarshamn Varv in Sweden for the Royal Post Office to maintain winter service between the Swedish mainland and Öland. Her hull was ice-reinforced, though I do not know how the reinforcements translate into today's system. In 1952 the ship was sold to Ångbåts AB Kalmarsund, who retained her on the Öland-Swedish mainland routes, but now sailing also during the summers. In 1956, she was withdrawn and laid up.

A buyer emerged in 1958 in the form of Rederi Ab Vasa-Umeå, a Finnish shipping company operating ships linking - you guessed it - Vaasa in Finland to Umeå in Sweden. The Öland was renamed Korsholm III and sailed to the Hollming shipyard in Rauma, Finland, where she was lengthened by 12 metres. The added midsection included a side-loadable car deck for up to 35 cars. Thus, when she re-entered service later the same year, the Korsholm III became the first car ferry to sail between Finland and Sweden. While her hull was ice-reinforced, it could not cope with the difficult ice conditions on the Gulf of Bothnia, and during her time with Vasa-Umeå the Korsholm III was always laid up for the winters.

The Korsholm III remained in service with Rederi Ab Vasa-Umeå until 1966, sailing on the Vaasa-Umeå route with the exception of the 1966 summer season, when she sailed from Vaasa to Örnsköldsvik instead. The arrival of the new Botnia Express for the 1967 summer season meant there was no longer a use for the Korsholm III, and she was laid up from autumn 1966 until autumn 1967, when she was sold to the Finnish Navy as a command ship, renamed Korsholm (she replaced an earlier Korsholm, which was also an old Vasa-Umeå steamer, the Korsholm II). Our Korsholm was transferred to the Finnish Maritime Administration in 1975.

The FMA gave up the ship in 1985. During the following 13 years, the aged steamer passed from one owner to another, with various plans for use either in service or in a stationary role. Between 1986 and 1989 she reverted to the original name Öland, then back to Korsholm until 1996, and then Korsholm av Wästerås (as the Swedish registry did not allow for two ships to have the same name, the established practice was to paint "av", Swedish for "of", between the name and port of registry, thus creating a "different" name). At various times she was laid up in Turku, Stockholm and Nakskov (Denmark), in increasingly poor condition due to vandalism.

Then, in 1998, the ship's fortunes were reversed: she was acquired by Strömma Kanalbolaget, who totally renovated her for use as an archipelago cruise ship in Stockholm. Her bow, superstructure and funnel were restored to original appearance (the bow having been raised by one deck and the funnel rebuilt when she became the Korsholm III), and the interiors rebuilt to be suitable for her new role - including a dining room decorated in art deco style. To save on fuel costs, two diesel engines were fitted alongside the original steam engine. In spring 2000, the ship was renamed Stockholm and entered service on archipelago cruises from her namesake city. This is the service where she remains to this day.

The photos below show the Stockholm departing from Nybroviken in Stockholm, photographed from the quayside. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

It was a nice day, with a nice new camera and a neat classsic ship. Nothing to complain about.
The exterior is not, of course, entirely similar to the original, as the 12-metre section added in 1958 has not been removed. And the funnel colours were different back in the day, of couse.
These photos did require some fiddling afterwards on the computer; I'm still on the learning curve when it comes to the best settings to use on the new camera.