28 November 2011

Queen Elizabeth in Helsinki, 21 August 2011

Queen Elizabeth

IMO 9477438
Built 2010, Fincantieri Monfalcone, Italy
Tonnage 90 901 GT
Length 294,00 m
Width 32,25 m
Draugth 8,00 m
2 092 passengers
6 MaK diesels, combined 50 700 kW
2 azipods
3 bow thrusters
Speed 23,7 knots (maximum)

Cunard Line's latest ship, the Queen Elizabeth, really needs no introduction. I could also ramble here about Cuanrd's recent reflagging of their fleet to Bermuda or about their current naming policy and how disrespectful it is to their history, but since I'm writing this at a quarter past one in the morning I guess we'll go straight to the photos.

Queen Elizabeth departing from Helsinki West harbour on the evening of 21 August 2011, photographed from Vattuniemi. I never seem to be in luck with Cunarders. The only time I've tried to photograph the Queen Victoria thus far I arrived too late and could only get a few aft photos of her. With the QE she manoeuvred out of the harbour in such a manner that I could only take aft-oriented photos of her too. Still, they're not all bad.

Click on the individual images to see in larger size.

Reversing from quay, with Tallink's Baltic Princess in the background.
Put crap on the foreground, make photo look more artistic.
Sailboats also help (as noted in the previous entry, this was the day of a "floating boat exhibit" and hence there were a lot of boats buzzing around).
This was the closest I could get to a photo showing the ship from a forward angle. Since this was late in the day the shore was alreaduy in the shade, somewhat diminishing the attractiveness of the image.

24 November 2011

Norwegian Sun in Helsinki, 21 August 2011

Norwegian Sun

IMO 9218131
Built 2001, Aker MTW Wismar, Germany (hull), Lloyds Werft Bremerhaven, Germany (outfitting)
Tonnage 78 309 GT
Length 258,06 m
Width 32,20 m
Draugth 8,00 m
1 936 passengers (double occupancy), 2 400 passengers (maximum)
6 MAN/B&W diesels, combined 50 700 kW
2 propellers
3 bow thrusters
2 stern thrusters
Speed 22 knots

For a (very) brief history of the Norwegian Sun, see the first entry on her. The photographs below show the NSun departing from Helsinki West Harbour on 21 August 2011. Photographed from Vattuniemi. Click on the images to see then in larger size.

Norwegian Sun and the photographer's wife, part 1.
It was very hard to get a "clean" shot of the NSun this day, as there was a "floating boat exhibition" at Lauttasaari and hence the sea was full of all sort of small craft. As you probably know I'm all for photogenic sailboats, but a sailboat without sails is not very photogenic - and neither is three or four different types of boats in the foreground of a photo.
I should take more vertical photographs like this, methinks. Of course, there's the problem that I tend to screw up the horizon in them even worse than usually.
Step 1: Take a normal photo with the placement of the subject a bit off. Step 2: Crop the photo to panoramic dimensions. Step 3: ???. Step 4: Profit!
The photographer's wife, part 2. Probably wishing she was on the NSun and not stuck in Vattuniemi with me.

20 November 2011

Kristina Katarina in Helsinki, 14 August 2011

Kristina Katarina

IMO 7625811
Previous names: Konstantin Simonov, Francesca, The Iris
Built 1982, Stocznia Szczecinska im A. Warskiego Szczecin, Poland
Tonnage 12 688 GT
Length 138,00 m
Width 21,01 m
Draugth 5,60 m
450 passengers
4 Sulzer diesels, combined 12 779 kW
2 propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

For a history of the Kristina Katarina, please see the first entry on her. The photographs below show the ship in Helsinki on the evening of 14 August 2011. She was at Kanavaterminaali's quay overnight in preparation for her second winter season, which will take her as far away as the Caribbean, making her the first Finnish-flagged cruise ship to ever sail there (there have, of course, been Finnish-owned cruise ships in the Caribbean, but never a Finnish-flagged one - though there were plans to take Finnlines' Finnstar there in the early 1980s, but she was withdrawn before any of these plans could be realised). Photographs taken from various locations in the South Harbour. Click on the images to see them in larger size.

Sunset a half past eight: The Kristina Katarina at quay alongside the Suomenlinna II, one of the three serries providing service between Helsinki's Market Square and the island fortress Suomenlinna (aka Sveaborg in Swedish).
An hour later in the same place. On the right in the background in the orthodox christian Uspenski Cathedral. The grey tower in the background on the left is the tower of the Kallio Church.
A different point of view taken from Tähtitorninmäki. The white building next to the Kristina Katarina on the left is the (former) Enso-gutzeit headquarters, also the former HQ of Finnlines.
Later, that same evening.
(Almost) the same point of view as on the first image, but now showing the row of former warehouses along the shore of Katajanokka. The rightmost building is the terminal used by Viking Line.

17 November 2011

Sea Wind in Turku, 12 August 2011

Sea Wind

IMO 7218332
Former names: Svealand, Saga Wind
Built 1972, Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri, Denmark
Tonnage 15 879 GT
Length 154,41 m
Width 21,04 m
Draugth 5,02 m
Ice class 1B
12 passengers (as a cargo ship), 363 passengers (maximum)
363 berths
60 cars
1 270 lanemetres
4 MaK diesels, combined 7 356 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

More Sea Wind. And in case you missed it, the previous entry on the ship contains additional photographs and a detailed history. The photographs below show the ship arriving in and departing from Turku on 12 August 2011, photographed from Ruissalo (albeit from different locations). Click on the individual images to see them in larger size.

Arriving in the harbour in much better lighting than in the previous entry. The black blob aft of the the Sea Wind's radar mast is the funnel of the Isabella.
Sea Wind reversing into quay in front of her fleetmate Silja Europa. The building just visible behind the aft superstructure of the Silja Europa is the Turku Castle.
Later, that same evening: The Sea Wind sailing on a meadow after departing from Turku.
The moon was (barely) visible above the Sea Wind's bridge in the original image, but it was sadly obliterated when treating the image.

12 November 2011

Isabella in Turku, 12 August 2011


IMO 8700723
Built 1989, Brodogradiliste Split, Yugoslavia
Tonnage 35 154 GT
Length 169,40 m
Width 27,60 m
Draugth 6,40 m
2 480 passengers
2 166 berths
364 cars
900 lane metres
4 Wärtsilä-Pielstick diesels, combined 23 760 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
Speed 21,5 knots

For a short history of the Isabella, see the first entry on her.

The photographs below show the Isabella departing from Turku on the evening of 12 August 2011, photographed from Ruissalo (from a different spot than the preceeding Turku images). Click on the individual images to see in larger size.

Departing the harbour, with Sea Wind also preparing to depart in the background.
Passing Pikisaari.
The yellow glowy thing is not an added effect, but luck with the way the rays of the setting sun interacted with the clouds.
She is a very pretty ship, in my humble opinion.
Cathing the evening sun.
Sailing in to sunset (well, not quite... yet).
I really miss those calm summer evenings.
Really sailing into sunset this time, turning into the deep channel between Ruissalo and Pikku-Pukki.

07 November 2011

Silja Europa in Turku, 9 August 2011

Silja Europa

IMO 8919805
Built 1993, Meyer Werft, Germany
Tonnage 59 912 GT
Length 201,78 m
Width 32,60 m
Draught 6,80 m
Ice class 1 A Super
3 123 passengers
3 696 berths
350 cars
932 lane metres
4 MAN diesels, combined 31 800 kW
2 propellers
2 bow thrusters
1 stern thruster
Speed 22 knots

For the history of the Silja Europa, see here. The photographs below show the ship at and departing from Turku on the evening of 9 August 2011. Photographed from the bird-watching quay in Ruissalo. Click on the individual images to see them in larger size.

It seemed like I would have really great lighting for the ship's departure, but this was not to be, thanks to the very impressive clouds you see in the background. And the forests at Ruissalo which in part also obscured the low sun.
Treating the rest of these images was very difficult, as they were a lot darker than what you see here and brightening them tended to destroy the impressive lit cloud-formations. I'm not really satisfied with the results, but it's the best I could come up with.
Come to think of it, with Blogger's new photo-displaying thingy there's very little point in writing captions - if you use the viewer-thing, you probably aren't reading the captions anyway.
Notice the Turku castle on the left.
You probably can't see it that well even in the bigger size, but next to the "official seacarrier of the Moomin" -logo near the bow there's also a "Turku European Capital of Culture 2011" -logo. Tallink Silja Line is/was the official seacarrier of that too.
I admit the place was rather fantastic, especially on a warm summer evening like that.
What I said above.
She's big, isn't she?

04 November 2011

Sea Wind in Turku, 9 August 2011

Sea Wind

IMO 7218332
Former names: Svealand, Saga Wind 
Built 1972, Helsingør Skibsværft og Maskinbyggeri, Denmark
Tonnage 15 879 GT
Length 154,41 m
Width 21,04 m
Draugth 5,02 m
Ice class 1B
12 passengers (as a cargo ship), 363 passengers (maximum)
363 berths
60 cars
1 270 lanemetres
4 MaK diesels, combined 7 356 kW
2 controllable pitch propellers
1 bow thruster
Speed 18 knots

Sea Wind is a car-passenger-train ferry owned by Tallink and operated on the Turku-Stockholm service. She currently operates as a freight-only ship. At the time of writing she is the only trainferry operating out of Finland, but she is due to cease carrying railroad carriages at the end of this year. But perhaps it would be prudent to look at the history of this small but fascinating ship in a bit more detail.

The ship was originally ordered in 1969 by Rederi AB Svea as the trainferry Svealand. On delivery she was placed on the Travemünde-Copenhagen-Helsingborg -service on Trave Line, although she was in fact by owned Linjebuss International, an another RAB Svea subsidiary. In 1976 Trave Line and Rederi Ab Öresund merged to form Saga Line and Svealand passed into the Saga Line fleet. At the same time the intermediate call at Copenhagen appears to have been removed from her route. In early 1981 Saga Line merged with TT-Line to form TT-Saga Line. Coinciding with this the Svealand was moved to TT-Line's traditional Trelleborg-Travemünde -route.

In 1982 the Svealand was rebuilt at HDW Kiel. Later that year Johnson Line (who had taken over Rederi AB Svea in the beginning of 1982) sold the ship to Svenska Lastbil. In 1984 the ship was rebuilt again, this time at Fosen Mek. Verksted in Trondheim, where she recieved new engines and was lengthened by 36 metres. On completion of the rebuild she was renamed Saga Wind. During one of these refits the ship apparently lost her train-carrying capacity.

The Saga Wind's owners were renamed Swedcarrier in 1986, around the same time as TT-Saga Line reverted to the name TT-Line. During the same year the Saga Wind was rebuilt with additional cabins at Seebackwerft in Bremerhaven.

In 1989 the Saga Wind passed for the first time away from the Sweden-West Germany routes. The Finnish Effoa (aka Finland Steamship Company) was looking for a trainferry with which to open a competing Finland-Sweden service to that of Finnlink (following the company's long-established strategy: first try to buy out new shipping companies; if that fails, start a competing service and eventually force the competition into forming a joint service). In the beginning of 1989 the Saga Wind sailed to the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where she was converted into a rail/freight ferry, with additional cabins also fitted. On completion she was chartered to Effoa's new subsidiary Sea Wind Line and renamed Sea Wind for service between Turku and Stockholm.

The Sea Wind was briefly chartered to Silja Line (both were of course owned by the same company, EffJohn) while Silja's Wellamo and Svea were being rebuilt into the Silja Festival and Silja Karneval, respectively. Swedcarrier sold the Sea Wind to Sea Wind Line in 1993. In 1997 the Sea Wind was grounded in the Stockholm archipelago while inbound to Stockholm. Her passengers were evacuted onboad the archipelago ferry Solöga, while the Sea Wind herself was eventually refloated and sailed to Turku Ship Repairyard for repairs.

In 1999 an intermediate call at Långnäs in the Åland islands was introduced in order to continue tax-free sales onboard. Until 1999 the Sea Wind has been the sole ship of Sea Wind Line (excepting occasional charters), but that year she recieved a running mate in the form of the Star Wind, a former East German trainferry. In 2001 the Sea Wind was rebuilt twice, first in February when her bridge wings were enclosed and a second time in May when she was made compatible with the latest SOLAS regulations. In 2002 Sea Wind Line's (and Silja Line's) then-owner Sea Containers invested in yet another train ferry, the Sky Wind which now became the Sea Wind's running mate (the Star Wind was transferred to the Helsinki-Tallinn route but eventually sold in 2005).

Coinciding with the arrival of the Sky Wind a new livery was applied to Sea Wind Line's fleet. Until this time the company ships carried a medium-blue hull colour (that the Sea Wind had in fact carried since her completion in 1973 as the Svealand), but now this was changed to a much darker blue (to me it looks black) with a wide yellow stripe.

In 2006 Sea Containers sold Silja Line and with it Sea Wind Line to Tallink. Tallink soon begun downsizing the company: in 2007 the Sky Wind was sold, leaving the Sea Wind again as the company's sole ship. From the beginning of 2008 the Sea Wind ceased carrying passengers and at the same time the intermediate call at Långnäs was discontinued. The demise of Sea Wind Line was completed in early 2010, when the SWL markings on the Sea Wind's sides and funnel were painted over with Tallink logos. Due to new policies being taken into use by VR Group, the state-owned Finnish rail operator, the Sea Wind will stop carrying railway carriages at the end of 2011. The ship will remain on the route as a truck ferry.

The photographs below show the Sea Wind arriving in Turku harbour on the evening of 9 August 2011, photographed from a birdwatching quay in Ruissalo. Click on the image(s) to see them in larger size.

The multitude of refits have not exactly improved the ship's looks. See for instance Simplon Postcards' page for her for her sleek but compact original looks.
Tallink, in their time-honoured tradition, simply replaced the old Sea Wind Line markings with Tallink markings while still retaining the SWL hull colours when repainting the ship in 2010. As an interesting detail, the ship has never carried the company name in the hull (as is the tradition) - company markings have always been in the superstructure.
Look at the wonderful Finnish landscape just outside the the oldest city in the country. We've got birch trees and everything. (Seriously though, the Turku archipelago in very pretty).

02 November 2011

Baltic Princess in Helsinki, 3 August 2011

Baltic Princess

IMO 9354284
Built 2008, Aker Yards 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

One more ship from my extensive photo trip on 3 August, this time featuring the Baltic Princess. For more details about the ship, see this entry. The photographs below were taken from Vattuniemi in Lauttasaari, albeit from a different point than usually. Click on the individual images to see them in larger size using Google's new and annoying photo viewer that neglects captions.

The fact that it's dark outside at 5 PM while I'm writing this lends a particular poignancy to this photo. The southernmost tip of Lauttasaari (well, one of them) in the foreground, in the background next to the bow of the Baltic Princess is the Suomenlinna church.
Due south and Tallinn, with Sisä-Hattu in the foreground
As a final note to those readers who can understand Finnish (and to those who can't but enjoy looking at photos of ships for that matter), the latest issue of Ulkomatala web magazine is out and can be read at www.ulkomatala.net. The current issue features two texts by yours truly, namely the first part of an article series on the history of Effjohn, and a book review of DFDS Sailing in Style. There is also a reader's survey from which you can win a free Helsinki-Tallinn cruise on the Viking XPRS (and of course provide us with valuable information for delevoping the magazine in the process).