Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), the Finnish shipbuilder, said it has signed a letter of intent with Kvarken Link, a Finnish-Swedish ferry company, for an advanced 800 passenger and 1,500 lane metre capacity ropax vessel.
The vessel is set to operate between the Finnish city of Vaasa and the Swedish city of Umeå. The contract, with a value of approximately €120 million, will have an impact on employment totalling around 800 person-years. “The formal construction agreement is to be signed in early 2019, with the design and construction work set to start immediately thereafter,” Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of RMC, said in a statement.
“The vessel will be designed to be environmentally friendly, with a machinery running on a dual fuel and battery solution, and the main source of fuel being liquefied natural gas. The vessel will also be able to utilise, for example, biogas produced in Vaasa,” RMC said.
The ship will be built to Finnsh-Swedish ice class of 1A Super, in order to guarantee that it will be able to navigate in the challenging ice conditions of the Kvarken region as independently as possible.
Kvarken Link is owned by the city of Umeå and the city of Vaasa, both of whom serve as guarantors of the financing.
A ferry service was introduced between the two cities by Vaasanlaivat in 1948. The business grew rapidly and by the late 1980s, several second hand ships were employed on services from Vaasa to not just Umeå, but also Ornskoldsvik and Sundsvall across the Gulf of Bothnia. Vaasa handled more than a million passengers a year at this time.
The abolition of duty free sales in intra-EU travel in July 1999 led to a sharp reduction in passenger volumes and Silja Line, which had acquired Vaasanlaivat, pulled out of Vaasa.
The service to Umeå was reintroduced soon by anther company, but it used aged and low quality tonnage. A 1981 built second hand ropax Wasa Express run by Wasaline, the trading name of the company that contracted the newbuilding, is presently employed on the service.