‘Finlandia’ flags Eckerö Line’s fleet changes


Finnish shipping company Eckerö Line has unveiled the new fast ferry 'Finlandia', debuting the ship on the immensely popular Helsinki-Tallinn route on New Year's Eve, 2012, where it replaced the 14-year veteran 'Nordlandia'.

The 36,000GT 'Finlandia' was bought from Italy's Moby Lines last February, with the bill totaling €100 million (USD132.9 million) including purchase and rebuilding. Rebuilding operations mainly focused on upgrading her ice classification to 1A to ensure smooth year-round operations – something her predecessor could not guarantee – while other refurbishments included an overhaul of the livery, allowing Eckerö to retain its claim of being the "only Finnish flag carrier on the route".

Built by Daewoo in 2001, the 'Finlandia' is one of four of her class, with her predecessors all built for Moby Lines. This includes the 2008-built 'Superstar', a Fincantieri-built ship that will share the same harbours. While passenger capacity is similar (2,080) between 'Finlandia' and 'Superstar', vehicle space aboard the former is raised considerably to over 660 cars.

The 'Finlandia's flank speed has been increased from 20 to 29 knots, though for fuel cost reasons 25 knots is optimal. The immediate effect of this speed improvement will be on the timetable, as the 80-kilometre crossing will take only two and a half hours, cutting voyage time by 30-45 minutes.

On board passenger facilities include a much larger travel retail shop, additional eating and drinking venues (though á la carte service is dropped), the introduction of a business class, and improved wireless internet.

The 'Nordlandia' will continue on the route as a pure ro-ro vessel, while the incumbent 'Translandia's will be sold to Romanian interests for the Black Sea region. Both the 'Finlandia' and the 'Nordlandia' make return crossings twice daily.

John Pagni

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