Sunday, 29 December 2013

Changes and incidents

It's been a while since I last blogged, and a lot has happened. I haven't had the time to write down everything in order so I'll try to do it now.

Lots of ferry related news have reached my ears recently, mostly unpleasant ones. It almost seems as if the companies are trying to beat each other by having more incidents.

First of all, Viking XPRS was having difficulties entering the port of Tallinn due to bad weather on 1st of December. A tugboat was assisting her, but soon the captain decided it was too dangerous and returned to the open sea to drift for the night. What caused some inconveniences was the fact that all cabins were sold out, but pillows and bed sheets were distributed and some of the crew, including the captain, kindly allowed people to stay in their cabins. Free food and drinks were also available. The ship returned to Tallinn early next morning and her next departure wasn't affected.

Viking XPRS
Then, Tallink took a turn on the 12th of December, when a ramp connecting two cardecks collapsed on Star while she was in Helsinki. One truck driver was injured. The accident cancelled all of her departures until next evening, but at some point she was allowed to return to Tallinn with no passengers to unload the cars on the 2nd cardeck. So, the old double ramp of Superfast ferries found an use again. Later on some more departures were cancelled for repairs, but as far as I understood the ramp is currently stationary as a temporary result. Tallink is working on restoring the ramp as it was before.

Photo from the site, submitted to (not mine)
Ramp of Superfast
Three days later Amorella of Viking Line ran aground due to a blackout. The passengers and actually pretty much everyone following the event was very worried at first, since runninng aground can result in pretty much anything ranging from nothing to loss of the vessel. It was a lucky accident, because no one was injured, only a ballast tank was damaged and later on the ship continued to Mariehamn, where she dropped off her passengers and left to Rauma for repairs. Now she's back in service.

Amorella aground near Långnäs, slightly listed to starboard.

Some time later, Tallink struck again, when christmas schedules caused quite a mess at the check-in counter of Tallink's terminal in Tallinn. Superstar was exceptionally scheduled to depart 30 minutes before the Stockholm ferry, which meant that several thousand people had to check in during a very short period of time. The people to board Superstar were apparently given priority, but many didn't hear it and failed to board the ship in time. The ship didn't wait for them and they had to spend the night in Tallinn, returning to Finland next morning. Four of six check-in machines were out of order and the fifth one soon ran out of paper and nobody was sent to replace it.

Earlier today a fire broke out in a cabin on King of Scandinavia of DFDS Seaways. It was put out in 15 minutes, but seven people, mostly crew, had to be taken to hospital by helicopter due to smoke inhalation. Two people have been arrested for arson and affray. So far it looks like a lucky accident, and hopefully she will make it in time for her next departure after an inspection and some cleaning.

King Seaways (
That means Tallink and Viking Line are leading with two incidents each, and DFDS has one for now. Let's see who strikes next. I know it's somewhat inappropriate to handle ferry accidents the way I do, afterall they're no good, but they're really exciting to follow as long as you're not involved and as long as no one dies.
Now to continue with something more cheerful - Christmas has passed, which means exciting times for local shipspotters. In the meanwhile Cinderella of Viking Line came to do cruises from Helsinki with a short stay in Tallinn, and she has now been doing them for two weeks.
Our day cruise to Helsinki is crawling very close, with less than a week remaining. I'll return to Tallinn on Viking Cinderella on the 2nd last time that it's possible.

Cinderella arriving for the first time

Silja Festival is also on the move. A few days ago she left Paljassaare and came to Old City harbour and now she's in St. Petersburg waiting to start her Baltic Sea cruise on the 2nd of January. She will visit Tallinn, then stay in Stockholm for two days and then visit Helsinki. Unfortunately for us, she will be in Stockholm when we're travelling, so we won't get a chance to take better photos of her.

Silja Festival

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