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FerryNews News – April 2023 Edition


Hello and welcome to the April issue of FerryNews News in 2023. There have been some very exciting developments in the ferry industry again this month. Today’s topics include the chartering of two Tallink vessels, a new catamaran for Gotland traffic and the delivery of the MOBY FANTASY.

So stay tuned until the end to make sure you don’t miss anything!


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And here is the entire April issue of FährNews Aktuell once again for you to read:

1 Tallink Grupp charters out STAR and ISABELLE

[1] Tallink Grupp has signed a contract with Irish Continental Group plc for the long-term charter of the ferry STAR. The vessel will be chartered for 20 months with the possibility to extend the charter for 2+2 years and will also have a purchase option.

The Estonian-flagged shuttle ferry STAR entered service to Tallinn-Helsinki route in 2007 and has been operating to this route between the Estonian and Finnish capitals ever since. Since MYSTAR entered service last December, it has offered a shuttle light concept service between the two capitals, with reduced daily departures and slightly reduced on-board service.

The STAR is chartered to Irish Continental Group plc from May 5, 2023, and will initially enter service as OSCAR WILDE for Irish Ferries on to Rosslare in Ireland and Pembroke in Wales route in early June, replacing the BLUE STAR 1 chartered by Blue Star Ferries for the busy summer period.

“We have been looking to alternative deployment options for our ship STAR for some time, and the search became even more focused as the arrival of our new shuttle MYSTAR approached last year. There has been a lot of interest in chartering the ship over the past few years, and I am pleased to say that we have now secured a good contract with Irish Continental Group plc. This kind of alternative work for our ships was and is a good solution that strengthens our company and increases revenues to a long period of crisis,” says Paavo Nõgene, CEO of Tallink Grupp.

The STAR’s last departure this spring will be from Helsinki to Tallinn on the evening of May 1, 2023. Passengers who purchased tickets for STAR sailings to May 1 will be contacted and given alternate travel options to company’s other ships.

[2] Tallink Grupp has also signed a contract with the Canadian company Bridgemans Floatel LP for a multi-year charter of the vessel ISABELLE with a purchase option. The Latvian-flagged ISABELLE, which operated on to company’s Riga-Stockholm route prior to the Covid pandemic and has been hosting Ukrainian refugees in Tallinn since April 2022 under a charter agreement with the Estonian government, will be chartered to Bridgemans from July 1, 2023. Tallink Grupp’s current contract with the Estonian Social Insurance Institution ends in June 2023. Currently, about 900 Ukrainian refugees still live on board the ship. Estonian authorities have plans for alternative accommodation of refugees to termination of the contract with Tallink.
“We are very excited about this new contract for our vessel ISABELLE – a deal that will undoubtedly have a positive impact to our bottom line. In recent years, chartering our ships has provided us with a good alternative source of revenue and an important buffer in times of difficult travel restrictions. Our ships and crews have proven to be invaluable partners at global summits, as well as in relief efforts related to the war in Ukraine. And there are many reasons why chartering ships on long-term contracts makes good business sense for us. First and foremost, it’s a combination of the ongoing economic uncertainties, low consumer confidence, and significant pressure from rising costs, such as wage increases due to the recently signed new collective agreement, slower-than-expected recovery in passenger numbers, and lower demand,” says Paavo Nõgene, CEO of Tallink Grupp.

The ISABELLE is expected to remain in Tallinn for refurbishment before sailing to Canada later this year.

2 New catamaran planned for Gotland service

[3] Swedish Rederi AB Gotland, also known as Gotlandsbolaget, and well-known Australian shipyard Austal have signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a new catamaran for Gotlandsbolaget with the working title GOTLAND HORIZON X. It is already known that the ferry will be powered by multi-fuel or fossil-free fuel (such as hydrogen). Plans call for a maximum speed of 35 knots and a capacity of 1,650 passengers and 450 cars. The ship will also feature an energy-efficient hull, minimized weight, optimal energy management and streamlined designs throughout the ship. As with the two fast ferries GOTLANDIA and GOTLANDIA 2 recently sold by Gotlandsbolaget, the GOTLAND HORIZON X is to be used mainly in the summer months. The crossing time between the island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland should be possible in less than 3 hours.

3 CRUISE SMERALDA chartered to Finnlines

[4] The Grimaldi Group’s ferry CRUISE SMERALDA was chartered out by Grimaldi Euromed to its sister company Finnlines. From the Italian port of Gioia Tauro and to stopover in Antwerp, the CRUISE SMERALDA, built in 1997, arrived in Vlissingen in the Netherlands during the 2nd week of April before continuing to Malmö to Sweden.

[5] The ferry will successively represent Finnlines vessels FINNTRADER and FINNPARTNER, which will go into dock for maintenance and renovation. It will thus be deployed to Malmö-Travemünde route.

[6] The CRUISE SMERALDA was built as IKARUS for Greek Minoan Lines and sold to parent company Grimaldi Lines in 2016, it has a maximum capacity of 1,528 passengers and 2,195 lane meters for vehicles

[4] and has recently operated to routes in the Western Mediterranean and to North Africa.

4 Delivery of the MOBY FANTASY

[7] Guangzhou Shipyard has delivered the first of two new generation ferries from Italian shipping company Moby, the MOBY FANTASY. The MOBY FANTASY will leave China in the coming days and head to the Mediterranean, where she is scheduled to enter service on to Livorno-Olbia route in the summer. With a length of 237 m, a width of 32 m and a gross tonnage of 69,500, the MOBY FANTASY is the largest passenger ferry ever built in the world, to Moby. It has a capacity of 3,000 passengers and 3,850 loading meters for vehicles. The new flagship of the Moby fleet will arrive in the port of Livorno in mid-May. Compared to conventional ferries operating to similar routes, the MOBY FANTASY produces over 50% fewer emissions. The sister ship of the MOBY FANTASY, the MOBY LEGACY, will follow later in the year.

5 MOBY ZAZA chartered out

[8] Another message concerning the Moby shipping company. The ferry MOBY ZAZA was chartered by Società Navigazione Alta Velocità, or SNAV, an MSC subsidiary. In the summer, she will be deployed to reopened route between the ports of Ancona in Italy and Split in Croatia.

The ship will sail from Ancona on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from Split on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

[9] Built in 1982 for Olau Line, the ship offers 700 lane meters for vehicles and can accommodate up to 1,860 passengers.

6 TBSP. VENIZELOS is put back into service

[10] As of June 30, 2023, the EL. VENIZELOS of ANEK Lines will replace BLUE GALAXY currently operating to the Piraeus – Chania route. BLUE GALAXY is a former ANEK Lines ship operated by Blue Star Ferries. The EL. VENIZELOS will serve this relation together with ELYROS, which also belongs to ANEK Lines. Thus, for the first time in 8 years, the Piraeus – Chania line will again be operated by two ANEK Lines vessels.

As a result of the cooperation between ANEK Lines and Attica Group, the tonnage capacities of the two companies will be shared to several routes within and outside Greece.
Blue Star ferry BLUE GALAXY will operate on routes to the Dodecanese Islands during the summer months.

The EL. VENIZELOS was laid up in Perama for the last two years, as there was no use for her during the Corona crisis.

For many Greek ferry lovers, the reactivation of the EL. VENIZELOS a longed-for wish came true. Among other things, because the EL. VENIZELOS has an impressive history.

[11] Today’s EL. VENIZELOS was commissioned in 1979 as STENA POLANICA for Stena Line as the sister ship of today’s STENA VISION and STENA SPIRIT.

[12] Due to the severe delay in construction, only the first two ships were accepted by Stena Line. The contract for two more ships on order, including today’s EL. VENIZELOS, but was dissolved and Fred Olsen Line bought it under the name BONANZA. Fred Olsen Line also terminated the contract and ANEK Lines acquired the incomplete third ship of the series in 1990 under the new name KYDON II.

ANEK Lines had the unfinished ship towed to Perama for completion. There, the KYDON II was adapted to the Greek infrastructure and completed.

She was for a time the largest ferry in the Mediterranean to completion and remains the largest ferry under the Greek flag today.

[13] The fourth and last ship of the construction series, the STENA BALTICA, was cancelled by Stena Line at the shipyard in 1986. The shell was also sold to a Greek shipping company. She was renamed REGENT SKY but never entered service as the shipping company ceased operations in 1995. After several changes of ownership, the REGENT SKY, which was 60% complete, was scrapped in Turkey in 2011.

That’s it for the April issue of FährNews Aktuell. If you want to be well informed about the world of ferry shipping in the future, feel free to leave a subscription now to support the channel and not miss anything in the future.

If you would like to learn more about the latest developments in the ferry industry, please take a look at the latest issue of FährNews Aktuell on the right. Among other things it was about the mentioned sale of the GOTLANDIA and GOTLANDIA 2. Have fun and see you soon!

7 sources

  • [1] “Tallink Grupp signs long-term charter agreement with Irish Continental Group for STAR,” Shippax. https://www.shippax.com/en/news/tallink-grupp-signs-long-term-charter-agreement-with-irish-continental-group-for-star.aspx (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [2] “Tallink Grupp signs long-term charter agreement with Bridgemans for ISABELLE”, Shippax. https://www.shippax.com/en/news/tallink-grupp-signs-long-term-charter-agreement-with-bridgemans-for-isabelle.aspx (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [3] sandra, “Gotlandsbolaget & Austal: important step in climate journey”, Ferry Shipping News. https://ferryshippingnews.com/gotlandsbolaget-austal-important-step-in-climate-journey/ (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [4] sandra, “CRUISE SMERALDA transferred to Finnlines”, Ferry Shipping News. https://ferryshippingnews.com/cruise-smeralda-transferred-to-finnlines/ (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [5] “CRUISE SMERALDA to serve for Finnlines between Malmö-Travemünde”, Shippax. https://www.shippax.com/en/news/cruise-smeralda-to-serve-for-finnlines-between-malmo-travemunde.aspx (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [6] “The ferry site”. http://www.ferry-site.dk/ferry.php?id=9144811&lang=en (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [7] sandra, “MOBY FANTASY delivered,” Ferry Shipping News. https://ferryshippingnews.com/moby-fantasy-delivered/ (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [8] sandra, “SNAV charters MOBY ZAZA for the Ancona-Split route”, Ferry Shipping News. https://ferryshippingnews.com/snav-charters-moby-zaza-for-the-ancona-split-route/ (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [9] “The ferry site”. http://www.ferry-site.dk/ferry.php?id=8020642&lang=en (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [10] “Δυάδα της ΑΝΕΚ φέτος με ‘ΕΛΥΡΟΣ’ & ‘ΕΛ. ΒΕΝΙΖΕΛΟΣ’ στην γραμμή Χανιά – Πειραιάς.”, Chania Ships, 11 April 2023. https://www.chaniaships.com/post/δυάδα-της-ανεκ-φέτος-με-ελυρος-ελ-βενιζελος-στην-γραμμή-χανιά-πειραιάς (accessed April 25, 2023).
  • [11] “El. Venizelos (ship),” Wikipedia. April 17, 2023. Accessed April 27, 2023. [Online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=El._Venizelos_(ship)&oldid=1150309338
  • [12] “El. Venizelos,” Wikipedia. March 28, 2023. Accessed April 27, 2023. [Online]. Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=El._Venizelos&oldid=232273229
  • [13] “Regent Sky,” Wikipedia. March 19, 2023. Accessed April 27, 2023. [Online]. Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Regent_Sky&oldid=231977181

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