Monday, 29 April 2013

Ship Profiles 4: Finnjet

Name: GTS Finnjet
IMO number: 7359632
Built: 1976
Lenght: 214,96m
Beam: 25,4m
Draught: 6,89m

Tonnage: 32,975 GT
Type: Cruiseferry
Speed: 33,5 knots

Decks: 10 public decks
Capacity: 1781 passengers, 815 lanemeters
Also known as: Da Vinci (2008); Kingdom (2008)
Status: broken up in 2008-2009

Finnjet was built in 1976 especially for traffic between Helsinki and Travemünde. Many consider her the first genuine cruiseferry, and during her career she held many records.

Finnjet was originally her project name, and many other names were considered, for example Urho Kekkonen, who was the president of Finland at that time. Finally, it was decided that Finnjet would keep her name and she was christened on 28. April 1977, exactly 36 years ago.

Finnjet in her first, Finnlines livery
Since Finnjet was well over a decade ahead of her time, she was very prestigious, famous and loved. A well-known Finnish artist Kimmo Kaivanto did several paintings to decorate the ship, including a painting named Pictures of Finland, which was three decks high. Finnjet has had a piece of music written for her, medallions of her were released and she's the first ship to have a Lego model of her that anyone could buy on board. When Finnjet was launched, the Katajanokka terminal in Helsinki, now used by Viking Line, was built, and the Kustaanmiekka strait had to be widened to fit such a large ship.

Finnjet Lego model

Several newer ships, for example Regina Baltica and Princess Maria were clearly influenced by her.

Regina Baltica
Princess Maria
Several companies have tried to use the name Finnjet for their later ships, but since Finnjet is a registered trademark owned by Finnlines, none have actually done so. During her first ten years in Finnlines' fleet, and later on with Silja Line she served on many routes, mostly between Helsinki, Tallinn, Rostock, Travemünde and St. Petersburg.

Finnjet and Cinderella in Helsinki
 During her time in Silja Line's fleet, her interior was rebuilt several times, last time in 2004, when she was being prepared to enter the Tallinn - St. Petersburg - Rostock route. Although Finnjet's glory often made the operator keep her going even if it was unprofitable during her golden days, this was not the case, so when Tallinn - St. Petersburg - Rostock turned out unprofitable, the route was terminated and in 2005 she was put up for sale.

In winter 2005-2006, Finnjet was used to provide housing to university students who had lost their homes to hurricane Katrina. After that, she travelled from one owner to another, who usually had big plans to rebuild her into a cruise ship, or a casino ship etc., but when it came out that the cost of the plan was higher than anticipated, she was put up for sale and sold to the next owner with big plans.

Finnjet on Mississippi river
In May 2008 she was sold for scrap, but several efforts were made to save the mighty vessel. Due to foiled plans and misunderstandings, none of those efforts worked, so she arrived to a scrapyard in India in June. The good condition of her impressed the breakers and once again, efforts were made by several parties to get the ship back in traffic. Those efforts almost led to success, but during the time she was in India, the warm and damp climate had taken its toll on her, causing a serious mold infestation. That made her unsalvageable and she was taken apart. Her thick steel hull and very strong bulkheads made the process very difficult and more expensive than the scrap value. 

Last days of GTS Finnjet

Finnjet's Records

  • Largest cruiseferry in the world in GRT (1977-1981)
  • Largest cruiseferry in the world in number of passengers (1977-1981)
  • Largest cruiseferry in the world in passenger berths (1977-1981)
  • First civilian vessel in the world equipped with ECDIS (1994)
  • First and only gas turbine powered cruiseferry in the world (1977-1996)
  • First and only combined gas turbine and diesel-electric ship in the world (1981-2000)
  • First cruiseferry in the world with a Lego model of it for sale
  • Longest cruiseferry in the world (1977-2001)
  • Largest gas turbine powered vessel in the world (1997-2002)
  • Fastest conventional cruiseferry in the world, with the max speed of 33,5 knots - still unbroken
  • Most powerful cruiseferry in the world with 66 400 kW - still unbroken

Finnjet medallion

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I traveled on GTS Finnjet several times as a teenager from Travemunde to Helsinki. One of my favourite memories to stood on the "Passenger Bridge" directly below the main bridge watching the waves crash over the bows as she raced through the Baltic.

    It's such a shame to see her broken up.

    Richard Crossley.