23 August 2016

Isle of Mull in Oban, 3 June 2016

As you may or may not have noticed, I have photographed very few cruise ship in Helsinki (or anywhere else for that matter) this year. What I do have is a bunch of ferry photos, from the local waters as well as Helsingborg and Scotland. To maintain some variation, I'm trying to keep up a system where photos from one of the three sets come up in turn. And this week, it's time for Scotland again.

Isle of Mull

IMO 8608339
Built 1988, Appledore Ferguson Glasgow, United Kingdom
Tonnage 4 719 GT
Length 90,03 m
Width 15,80 m
Draugth 3,20 m
951 passengers
70 cars
2 Mirrlees diesels, combined 3 096 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 15 knots

The Isle of Mull was built in 1988 by the Appledore Ferguson shipyard in Glawgow for the Oban-Craignure -run. Already before it was delivered, the ship had been discovered to have a serious deadweight problem, and therefore could not meet the required cargo capacity. Never the less, the Isle of Mull entered service on the route to Mull as planned in April 1988. After the summer season, the ship sailed to a drydock at Middlerough on the Tees for the addition of a 5,4 metre midsection, which fixed the deadweight problem. The chop-and-stretch operation was, naturally, carried out at the builders' expense.

Since its delivery, the Isle of Mull has generally remained on the same route, excepting occasional coverings on other routes during docking periods, and occasional sailing from Oban to Colonsay interspersed with the Graignure sailings.

The photographs below show the Isle of Mull departing from Oban to Craignure on the evening of 3 June 2016, photographed from Oban North Pier. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

At the Oban ferry terminal.
The Britons do like their ferries bulky.
Isle of Mull departs, while its smaller fleetmate Loch Striven stays behind. And yes, this photo does have some added candy.
Sailing into the sunset.
More candy.
Yum yum.
Next time: Mercandia IV seem to be the next in the lineup.

16 August 2016

Baltic Princess in Turku, 20 June 2016

Today, I should have been in Turku to witness the start of production of TUI Cruises upcoming Mein Schiff 1 (previously slated to be named Mein Schiff 7). The new ships is looking to be very interesting, a lengthened and otherwise modified version of the Mein Schiff 3 design. However, instead of being at the shipyard, I was sick at home. To balance things out, today's update will feature photos taken in Turku when I visited the city for the delivery of the Mein Schiff 5.

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards Saint Nazaire, France / Aker Yards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 48 915 GT
Length 212,10 m
Width 29,00 m
Draugth 6,42 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 800 passengers
2 484 berths
600 cars
1 130 lanemetres
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 32 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 24,5 knots

For a history of the Baltic Princess, see this previous entry on the ship. The photos below show it departing from Turku on the evening of 20 June 2016, photographed from Ruissalo. As always, click on the images to see them in larger size.

I wouldn't mind living in one of the Pikisaari villas you seen in the background.
As I recently discovered during the research made for the upcoming book on the history of Finnish shipbuilding, the livery was designed by Aprocos, who were also responsible for most of the interiors.
A ferry and a sailing boat harbour, very nautical.
The funnel and the upper "arch" of the livery line up very nicely from this vantage point.
Why they decided to retain the www.tallink.com text on the side when the ship was repainted with Silja Line hull markings I will never understand.
The design of the aft section is perhaps less than ideal.
Kships will return.

11 August 2016

Hamlet in Helsingborg, 13 April 2016

When the weather outside is sunny and warm, it's the perfect time to look at some photos taken in gloomy, overcast weather, don't you think. In other words, today we return to Helsingborg.


IMO 9150030
Built 1997, Finnyards Rauma, Finland
Tonnage 10 067 GT
Length 110,20 m
Width 27,60 m
Draught 5,50 m
1 000 passengers
238 cars
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 6 120 kW
2 propellers at both ends
Speed 15 knots

The Hamlet is a near-sister of the 1991-1992 built Scandlines ferries Tycho Brahe and Aurora af Helsingborg. Unlike the older pair, which were built in Norway, the construction of the Hamlet was awarded to Finnyard at Rauma, Finland. The Halmet also differs from its older running mates by having a somewhat less extensive superstructure - perhaps reflecting the fact that both the end of tax-free sales on intra-European Union routes due in 1999 and the opening of the Öresund bridge in 2000 could be expected to lower passenger numbers on the route.

The Hamlet was delivered to Scandlines' Danish arm in June 1997, and entered service between Helsingborg and Helsingør in the beginning of July. In effect, the ship replaced two much older vessels - the Regula and Ursula - on the route, though these had, in fact, been already withdrawn ahead of the 1996 summer season. Since 1997, the Hamlet has continued serving on the Helsingborg-Helsingør route without major incident. In spring 2015, both the ships sailing on the route under the Scandlines brand, as well as the associated HH Ferries company, were sold to the Australia-based investment company First State. As a result, the Hamlet's registered owners became HH Ferries Helsingør, though the ship continues sailing under the Scandlines brand name for the time being.

The photos below show the Hamlet departing from Helsingborg's Knutpunkten terminal in the evening of 13 April 2016. As per the usual, click on the individual images to see them in larger size.

The Tycho Brahe has just arrived, while the Hamlet departs. Notice that the bridge of the Hamlet is high than its older fleet mate, and the newer ship lacks the sun deck overhangs around the bridge,
I'm genuinely quite impressed by the Helsingborg-Helsingør ships. For such a short service, they offer an extensive array of onboard services, with departures more often than on one of my local tram lines.
Kships, as always, will return.

28 July 2016

Caledonian Isles in Brodick, 2 June 2016

Teijo Niemelä, mister Cruise Business Review, is currently on the Aegean onboard the Celestyal Crystal (ex-Sally Albatross, Leeward, Silja Opera etc) and will provide Kships' first guest entry later, with a tour of the fascinating ship's interiors. But, while waiting for that, we'll return to the land of lochs and misty moors, and take a look at Caledonian MacBrayne's Caledonian Isles.

Caledonian Isles

IMO 9051284
Built 1993, Richards Lovestoft, United Kingdom
Tonnage 5 221 GT
Length 94,28 m
Width 15,80 m
Draugth 3,15 m
1 000 passengers
110 cars
150 lanemeters
2 Mirrlees diesels, combined 4 265 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 15 knots

The Caledonian Isles was built in 1993 to replace the Isle of Arran (detailed in my previous Scotland entry) on the Ardrossan-Brodick route. The ship was named in May 1993 by Princess Anne and was due to enter service for the 1993 summer season, but due to a computer error its entry into service was delayed until August. Even then, the ship suffered serious teething problems, before settling comfortably on the route. Very comfortably in fact, as it has remained sailing on the same service until the present.

The photos below show the Caledonian Isles arriving at Brodick on 2 June 2016, photographed from Brodick. As per the usual, click on the images to see them in larger size.

Notice that the progressive Scots have wind turbines, whereas in Finland they are vehemently opposed as they "destroy the culture landscape" (even though, by definition, "culture landscape" is a landscape where the effects of humans are visible).
The lighting was not perfect, but since these are my only photos of the ship (thus far) I'm going to do with it.
Interestingly, the ship is not in the standard CalMac colours; the masts should be buff yellow and the lifeboat davits the same light turquise shade as the ventilation equipment on the forward deck. It's quite interesting that the ship has retained this nonstandard livery of 23 years.
Nice background, but the lighting...
Next time: If all goes to plan, the Celestyal Crystal.

19 July 2016

Viking XPRS in Helsinki, 19 July 2016

A few days ago, my friend and ship photographer extraordinnaire Marko Stampehl suggested we could visit Vallisaari, the former military island outside Helsinki opened for public this year, and photograph the morning arrivals and departures to Eteläsatama (South Harbour). This proved slightly more challenging than it first sounds, as the first waterbus of the morning arrives so late that you miss all but one ship. But thanks to a little help from my friends this was sorted out. The result were a bunch of really excellent images. Since these are both great and were "hard to get", I will deviate from my unwritten rule of not including more than six (exterior) photos per entry.

Viking XPRS

IMO 9375654
Built 2008, Aker Yards Helsinki, Finland
Tonnage 35 778 GT
Length 186,71 m
Width 27,70 m
Draugth 6,75 m
Ice class 1A Super
2 500 passengers
732 berths
230 cars
1 000 lanemeters
4 Wärtsilä diesels, combined 40 000 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 25 knots

 For a short history of the Viking XPRS, see this entry (which is actually somewhat out of date; since 2014 the ship has sailed under the Estonian flag). But, onwards to the photos! The first bunch below show the Viking XPRS arriving at Helsinki Eteläsatama (South Harbour) in the morning of 19 July 2016. Photographed from Aleksanterinpatteri (the Alexander Battery) at Vallisaari. Click on the images to see in larger size.

Passing the Harmaja lighthouse and pilot station.
Maybe a bit too tight crop in this one, but alas it's too late to go back now...
In addition to the otherwise splendid view, I like the fact I got to photograph her "parade side" with the large round window (that, disappointingly, isn't actually double-height on the other side). Usually I get to photograph her evening arrival, which means the other side in the one with decent light.
The Viking Grace -style hull stripes were added in 2014 (if I remember correctly). These are actually the first daylight photos of the Viking XPRS I've put up here since they were applied.
Very mmm!
Archipelago, ship, foreground vegetation... what more could a person ask?
She looks so tiny in this view.
Alas, the chances for photographing her rear were less good, due to the extensive vegetation.
For the ship's departure, approximately 1½ hours later, we relocated down to the waterline right next to the narrowest part of the Kustaanmiekka strait. Alas, the ship was partially in the shade due to the occasional clouds you can see in the photos above. So I've chosen only two photos as representatives of the latter part of the session.

The clouds do make for an impressive background though.
A slight change of point of view from the earlier photos.
Kships will return.