18 January 2018

Mont St Michel in Gdansk, 11 January 2018

I was originally planning to post a different set of images from the recent Baltic Princess to Poland trip today, and indeed had already prepared one for publication in advance, but then got a request for images of the Mont St Michel at Remontowa. As I don't even remember when was the last time someone requested something, of course I'm going to do it.

Mont St Michel

IMO 9238337
Built 2002, Van der Giessen-de Noord Krimpen aan den Ijssel, the Netherlands
Tonnage 35 891 GT
Length 173,95 m
Width 28,50 m
Draugth 6,20 m
2 120 passengers
774 passenger berths
830 cars
2 250 lane metres
4 MaK diesels, combined 21 600 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Service speed 21 knots

The Mont St Michel was contracted by Brittany Ferries from the Van der Giessen-de Noord shipyardiun the Netherlands in 2000, and delivered a little over two years later in December 2002 - no less than nine months behind originally agreed schedule. On delivery she replaced the older Duc de Normandie on routes linking Portsmouth to Caen (or rather, its outer port Ouistreham).

To comply with the International Maritime Organisation's restrictions of sulphur emissions on the English Channel, North Sea, Baltic Sea and the coasts of North America, Brittany Ferries in 2013 announced that the Mont St Michel, along with other newer members of the company fleet, would be rebuilt to run on liquidized natural gas. However, this was later revised to equipping the ship with sulphur scrubbers, which were installed in late 2015. To this day, the ship remains on the Portsmouth-Caen route.

The photographs below show the Mont St Michel at the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk, Poland on 11 January 2018. Photographed from onboard the Baltic Princess, which was also coming in for a refit. As per usual procedure, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The weather was far from good, but an image-editing software can work wonders.
Alas, due to our relative positions and the fact we did not have a chance to walk around the shipyard, there wasn't much variation to the photos taken.
Kships will return next week, probably with photos of the lovely little Ålandstrafiken ferry Gudingen.

13 January 2018

With the Baltic Princess from Turku to Gdansk, 10-11 January 2018

My first shipboard travel of the year was something slightly different: we boarded the Baltic Princess in Turku early in the morning of 10 January, and arrived the next day at noon at the Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk, Poland. I was one of the seven journalists/bloggers invited to join the ship on this unusual trip. A lot photos were taken and some will undoubtedly form the basis of future entries, but I wanted to give you an overview of the trip when it's still fresh.

10 January 2018

At 5:15 in the morning we boarded a bus in Helsinki, and after a rather sleepy bus ride we arrived at Silja Line's terminal in Turku, with both the Galaxy and the Baltic Princess at quay. The latter had arrived the last evening, while the Galaxy had just arrived from Stockholm and would stay in port the entire day to take over her sister's place in the service for the duration of the docking.

Alas, the weather for photographing the two sisters together in Turku was far from ideal.
Entrance to the ship was via the car deck (the Silja terminal in Turku has passenger gangways to just one quay). From left to right are Sami Koski of Valkeat Laivat, Marko Stampehl of Ferryfacts, Olli Tuominen of Ulkomatala, and with her back to the camera Tuula Nurminen of Tuula's Life.
So, what was the day like? We toured the ship, with expert guidance from both the crew and Tallink Silja's office staff, ate at the temporary mess set up in the Grill House restaurant for the duration of the docking, chatted, worked... I think this in particular is a case where pictures speak louder than words, so let's get to it!
The old Siljaland on Deck 7 was still intact, though not for long. This area will turn into an extension of the Fashion Street shop, with a new Siljaland to be built on Deck 5.
The Starlight Palace show lounge & night club will get new upholstery and a new dance floor with in-built led lighting.
The information booth fullfilled its unusual function, plus there was coffee, juice and small bited on offer outside. The "analogue dial" sofas are presumably getting reupholstered.
Forward on Deck 6, the old Cafeteria will give way to a Fast Lane restaurant similar to those found on the Silja Symphony, Silja Europa and Megastar. This is in particular in answer to passenger requests for more warm foods in cafeteria-style dining.
Buffet Silja Line will be rebuilt to a Grande Buffet like those found on the Silja Serenade, Silja Symphony and Silja Europa. Here, the chairs will be reupholstered rather than replaced; I presume the new soft furnishings will be dark orange in keeping with the theme found on the other ships.
The servery areas will be rebuilt, with the new "jewel" of the buffet being the dessert station with waiters in attendance to "tune" the portions according to customer wishes.
The old luggage room on Deck 5, adjacent to the conference areas, will become the new Siljaland. Based on cuystomer feedback, this will have a cafeteria for adults and a stage for the children themselves, as well as Silja's mascot Herri Hylje, to perform on. During school holiday seasons, the play areas can be extended to the conference rooms.
Bridge visits are a rare thing these days, but since this trip didn't officially have any passengers, we visited the bridge twice.
Last winter saw the addition of a Tavolata Italian restaurant; the Baltic Princess is the only ship in the Tallink and Silja fleets where this also serves pizza, thanks to a dedicated pizza oven. Tavolata, like the adjacent Happy Lobster and Grill House, will remain unchanged.
In the archipelago, we passed both the Gudingen, seen here, and Finnlines' Finnclipper. Both encounters will get their own blog entries later, I think.
The big thing about this refit is the replacement of the Wärtsilä-built reduction gears, which have proven unreliable, with new Renk-built ones. These will have to be lifted off the ship via the car deck, which will mean cutting through many things that were not originally designed to be cut through. The Baltic Princess' gearbxes will be kept as spare parts for the sister ship Baltic Queen.
The starboard side main engines.
11 January 2018

On the second day of the trip I woke early, as we were expected to pick up pilot at six in the morning. No such luck, as there were several ships in the queue before us and in the end we only picked up the pilot around ten. This left some time for further exploration and working (it's surprisingly productive to write in your own cabin on a ship that offers no organised entertainment) before the rather exciting (if cold) trip up the Leniwka river to Ostrów island and the waiting Remontowa shipyard.

The old Siljaland had been almost entirely demolished by the morning of the second day.
New restaurants mean new signage, of course, but also most of the other signage onboard will be replaced by new ones in the new official Silja style adopted last year.
Sailing up the Leniwka with assistance of no less than four tugs.
Remontowa is a busy place: in addition to the Baltic Princess, the morning saw the arrival of the Pride of Rotterdam, being reversed into the floating dock here...
...as well as the Stena Scandinavica and the Mont St. Michel, seen here on the right in the background.
The most interesting ship, though sadly poorly positioned for photography, is BC Ferries' Spirit of British Columbia, which came all the way from Canada for conversion to run on LNG.
Disembarking the ship at half past three in the afternoon. Much like in Finland, it was already getting dark by this time.
After that, our programme included a brief walking tour of Gdansk (the planned visit to the maritime museum was axed due to us getting off the ship so late) and a quick dinner before an evening flight back to Helsinki.

This entry was brought to you in collaboration with Silja Line. I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks to both the crew of the Baltic Princess for their hospitality and in particular Tallink Silja's chief of communications Marika Nöjd for making the trip possible. And, naturally, further thanks are in order to the fellow participants. If you want to take a look at what the others participants have written on the trip, here is a list of links:

The Ferryfacts Blog by Marko Stampehl (in English)
Valkeat laivat by Sami Koski (in Finnish)
Ulkomatala by Olli Tuominen (in Finnish)
Kristallin hohtoa by Krista Hytönen (in Finnish)
Tuulas Life by Tuula Nurminen (in Finnish)
Beachhouse Kitchen by Heli-Hannele Pehkonen (in Finnish)

As said, further material from the trip will be published as separate entries in the coming weeks. The Baltic Princess will return to service on 22 February 2018 (if all goes to plan). I hope to visit her then and will report on how the refit turned out.

30 December 2017

Mariella in Helsinki, 15 February 2010

I was looking through my older entries recently, and came across this entry of the Mariella. While I generally try to avoid reposting old image sets, I cannot for the life of me fathom why I had put up only three images from that session, considering how many superb shots I took. So today we will look back almost eight years, and finally take a proper look at the very chilly morning of the Mariella arriving in Helsinki.

Mariella

IMO 8320573
Built 1985, Wärtsilä Turku (Perno), Finland
Tonnage 37 860 GT
Length 175,70 m
Width 28,40 m
Draugth 6,78 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
2 500 berths
430 cars
980 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä SEMT-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 008 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 22 knots

Let's cut right to the chase. The photos below show the Mariella outside Helsinki, passing through the Kustaanmiekka strait, and in Eteläsatama (South Harbour) in the morning of 15 February 2010, photographed from onboard the also-inbound Silja Symphony. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

The Mariella came in via the usual inbound shipping lane east of the Harmaja lighthouse, while we took a more westernly route, utilising a channel broken earlier by the Superstar. This shot was preceeded by many photos of a backlit Mariella.
Both ships were delayed by the difficult ice conditions - the Silja Symphony more severely than the Mariella, which made these photos possible, as the distance between the ships is usually greater at this point.
Harmaja lighthouse in the background.
Some twists and turns (by both ships) later we ended up with a very similar view as above, but with the Mariella now about to enter the Kustaanmiekka strait.
The strait is relatively narrow, but made more problematic for navigation by the fact it's not straight and ships have to perform an S-turn while passing through.
Past the narrowest bit...
...and some minutes later we are at Eteläsatama, with the Mariella just about to berth.
Berthing then took a while, as both ships needed to first wash the quayside clear of broken ice - a routine manouvre during the winter season, but a time-conmusing one nonetheless.
Kships will return in 2018!

22 December 2017

Superstar in Helsinki, 25 January 2017

These are the last proper pictures I ever took of the Superstar. My original plan was to post these when the ship begun her new career with Corsica Ferries, but for some reason that never happened. So instead these will be the Kships Christmas greeting.

Superstar

IMO 9365398
Name history: Superstar, Pascal Lota
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

The Superstar 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 mate 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. In preparation for the delivery of the new ship, the Superstar was sold to Corsica Ferries in November 2015, with delivery in December, but chartered back to Tallink until the delivery of the new Megastar in January 2017.

After making her last crossing with Tallink on 28 January 2017, the Superstar was briefly registered in Cyprus and sailed to La Spezia in Italy for an extensive refit (somewhat oddly, most of the original Italian-influenced decor was removed). In early March, the ship was renamed Pascal Lota, after the recently-deceased founder of Corsica Ferries (originally, the ship was reported to be renamed Mega Express Six). In June, the ship finally entered service with Corsica Ferries, on routes from Livorno to Bastia and Golfo Aranci.

The photos below show the Superstar arriving at Helsinki Länsisatama (West Harbour) in the afternoon of 25 January 2017. Photographed from Vattuniemi. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

A surprising number of dents on the sides.
I'm not sure how often the ship is going t osee snow these days...
...but the snow did make for nice pictures.
The real obejctive of the day was the brand-new Megastar, which was in Helsinki to test ramps, but her depature was delayed until after dark. But getting the Superstar in the same shot as the ship wthat replaced her was nice.
Merry Christmas everyone, Kships will return.

11 December 2017

Crown Seaways in Copenhagen, 4 December 2017

A week ago, I was in Copenhagen to give a joint lecture with Bruce Peter on Innovation and Specialisation – The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland at a meeting of Denmark's Skibteknisk Selskab. The trip also gave a chance to photograph a ship I never had a chance to photograph in decent weather before: the Crown Seaways.

Before we get to the photos and history of the Crown Seaways, a little message regarding the book for my Finnish readers: Adlibris are selling it here (I'd give you a price if I could, but that seems to change by some kind of dynamic pricing; when I looked earlier today it was 46,20 €, but now it displays as 57,10 and who knows what the next time), and Akateeminen Kirjakauppa are selling it both online and at their store in Central Helsinki for 79,90 €.

Now to the subject at hand.

Crown Seaways

IMO 8917613
Name history: Thomas Mann, Crown of Scandinavia, Crown Seaways
Built 1994, Brodogradiliste Split, Croatia
Tonnage 35 498 GT
Length 171,32 m
Width 28,20 m
Draugth 6,35 m
Ice class 1 A Super
1 790 passengers
2 402 berths
450 cars
900 lane metres
4 Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Top speed 21,5 knots
Service speed 16,10 knots

The Crown Seaways was originally contracted in 1989 by Rederi AB Sea-Link as the second ship for their planned Euroway Malmö-Lübeck service. As the ships were contracted from Brodogradiliste Split in Croatia (with a design based on the earlier Split-built pair Amorella and Isabella), both ended up delayed; the first sister, the Frans Suell (today the Gabriella) only mildly so, making it in time for the 1992 summer season. The delay was more severe on the second ship, which according to different sources as planned to be named either Frans Kockum or Thomas Mann. By the time the ship was supposed to be delivered in 1993, Euroway had formed a joint service with Silja Line, and no longer had need for the second ship. She was then completed at a slower pace, finally leaving the yard in March 1994, albeit for docking at Fincantieri in Trieste, and embarking on her sea trials in May 1994, under the name Thomas Mann.

Also in May 1994 DFDS first acquired an option to purchase the ship, and then took it up during the same month (some sources claim she was actually briefly owned by EffJohn, the owners of Silja Line, in the interim to keep their arch-rivals Viking Line from getting their hands on the ship). In June DFDS sailed the ship to the Lloyd Werft shipyard Bremerhaven, where rear sponsons were added. It also appears that the ship got her original DFDS name, Crown of Scandinavia, around this time. The Crown of Scandinavia entered service on DFDS' Copenhagen-Helsingborg-Oslo route (like all DFDS passenger routes, it was marketed under the Scandinavian Seaways brand at the time) in July 1994, a route on which she has remained to this day.

In 1999, the Scandinavian Seaways brand name was abandoned in favour of reverting to the old DFDS Seaways name. In late 2006, the intermediate call at Helsingborg was eliminated from the route of the ship. In 2010, DFDS decided to unify their brand identity: the previous multitude of brands – DFDS Seaways, DFDS Tor Line, DFDS Lisco and DFDS Lys Line – were abandoned in favour of marketing all seabourne operations as DFDS Seaways, but with a new livery based on the blue-hulled colours of DFDS Tor Line. At the same time, all ships were renamed, with the new names ending with -Seaways. Oddly, while the Crown of Scandinavia was painted in the new colours fairly soon, her name was amended to Crown Seaways only in 2013.

In 2015, anticipating DFDS' 150th anniversary the next year, the company unveiled yet another rebranding, this time simply to DFDS, and a new livery with darker blue hulls and funnels. The Crown Seaways has, however, yet to be repainted in this new image; reportedly this is due to her being painted with a special paint, guaranteed to last five years, before the most recent rebranding was carried out. Judging by the rust evident in the photos below, I presume she will be repainted in the new colours during her next drydocking in spring 2018.

The photo  below show the Crown Seaways arriving at DFDS' Copenhagen terminal in the morning of 4 December 2017, photographed from the tip of Langelinie. (I was up in time as I had been forced to wake up at five am to catch my 7:30 flight to Copenhagen...). As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I had never been at Langelinie before, so I had no idea of how the photos would turn out. I think these are pretty alright.
That little cargo ship not-so-little tanker (thanks Juhani) was in the background a lot.
A "little" bit of rust here and there. Definately time for a repaint, methinks.
It's interesting that DFDS have not removed the grille from the front of the funnel, which Viking Line did immediately when they bought the sister ship. It doesn't seem to serve any purpose and adds unnescessary weight.
Reversing into the quay. My impression is that DFDS usually use the other quay (the Pearl Seaways certainly did when I sailed on her) so it was lucky for me the Crown used this side on this particular day.