13 February 2018

Finnclipper in the Åland Archipelago, 10 January 2018

Today we return to photos taken during last month's rather unusual trip with the Baltic Princess from Turku to the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk. While sailing through the Turku and Åland archipelagos, we encountered Finnlines' Finnclipper en route, sailing in the other direction. Since the Finnclipper was last featured here in 2015, this is also a good time to offer an update to her history.


IMO 9137997
Built 1999, Astilleros Españoles Puerta Real, Spain
Tonnage 33 958 GT
Length 188,30 m
Width 29,30 m
Draugth 6,30 m
Ice class 1A
440 passengers
452 berths
3 079 lane metres
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 23 040 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22,1 knots

The Finnclipper was originally ordered in 1995 by Stena Line as the first ship of their four-strong Stena Seapacer -class. However, while the ship was under construction Stena struck a deal with Finnlines to sell the two two ships in the class to Finnlines on completion. The ship was delivered to Stena Line in May 1999, and immediately resold to Poseidon Schiffahrt, the German subsidiary of Finnlines and registered in Lübeck. However, she was given a Finnlines-traditional Finn-prefix name, rather than Poseidon's Trans-prefixed one, a step in the process of Poseidon losing their own identity. The Finnclipper was initially placed on Finnlines' service between Travemünde and Helsinki. In 2001 she was re-registered in Helsinki. From the beginning of 2003 she moved to the Naantali-Kapellskär -route (which was marketed as Finnlink), only to move to the Malmö-Travemünde (Nordö Link) -route in the beginning of 2005, at which time she was re-registered in Malmö. This proved a short stint, as from the beginning of 2006 she reverted to the Finnlink service.

The next change came in 2012, when in the winter she made a single trip from Helsinki to Aarhus, followed by a regular service on the Malmö-Travemünde and Travemünde-Saint Petersburg -routes (reportedly the trips to Saint Petersburg were done in part to purchase cheap marine fuel from Russia). For the 2015 summer season, the Finnclipper returned to the Finnlink service, which had in the interim been altered to include an intermediate call in Långnäs in the Åland Islands in order to secure tax-free sales onboard. In February 2016, the ship briefly returned to Malmö-Travemünde, before sailing to the Turku Ship Repair Yard in Naantali for installation of scrubbers. For the rest of 2016 she again sailed on the Naantali-Kapellskär -route, before returning to Malmö-Travemünde for the winter months of 2017 (she was also briefly chartered to Stena Line for their Trelleborg-Rostock route during this time), then in March again reverting to Naantali-Kapellskär. She remains on the service to this day, but is due to leave it in April, when she is replaced by the larger Finnswan (ex-Nordlink). I'm uncertain where the Finnclipper is heading after this.

The photos below show the Finnclipper in the Åland Archipelago near Ledskär, photographed from onboard the Baltic Princess. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size. It might also be of interest comparing these photos to the previous set taken in 2015, before she had scrubbers installed.

Some neat sunlight on her side. The ship visible in the background on the left is Viking Line's Amorella, inbound to Mariehamn on her mid-day call.
I also quite like the way the sun lights up the exhausts, which almost seem to glow here.
An abrupt change in the lighting changed the colouring of the photo radically. Personally, I really like the way this one looks!
Sailing on towards Långnäs.
I have a confession to make: I actually quite like the way these ships look.
Next time, unless something odd comes up, we will return to sunny Madeira and the Aidablu.

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