Estonians Raise the Ferry Stakes

A stylish entrant to the rapidly-growing ferry traffic across the Gulf of Finland between Tallinn and Helsinki denotes the opening of a new chapter in the development of the Estonian fleet, and could also act as a spur to fresh investment by Nordic operators. The 40,000-gt Romantika is a landmark vessel, signaling the attainment of a new unit scale in the Estonian ferry sector and the introduction of a cruise ferry standard to contractual owner Tallink's inter-city service, where the company ranks as market leader with a 40- percent share of the passenger traffic.

The designers' endeavors to appeal to the Finnish short-cruise market have been shaped by the expectation that at least three-quarters of passengers will book round-trips entailing only a short sightseeing break in Tallinn. At the same time, the vessel is equally suited to rising demand from business travelers, car-accompanied passengers and freight shippers, recognizing the convenience and opportunity presented by the 3.5-hour crossing between the Finnish and Estonian capitals.

The latest completion from the Rauma stable of Aker Finnyards, an innovative shipbuilder which can lay claim to a long line of mold-breaking European ferries and RoRos, has been dimensioned for 2,500-passengers and 1,000 lane-m of vehicles, conveyed on a year-round schedule at up to 22-knots. The ship was phased into duty only 21 months after the signing of the $131-million contract in August 2000. At a time of diminishing ferry orderbooks, it is hoped that the high-grade Romantika will give fresh impulse to ordering by Baltic specialists

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 19,  Jul 2002

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