GTS Finnjet

GTS Finnjet

GTS "Finnjet" was a cruiseferry, built in 1977 by Wärtsilä Helsinki, Finland for Finnlines traffic between Finland and Germany. At the time of her delivery the "Finnjet" was the fastest, longest and largest car ferry in the world, and the only one powered by gas turbines. At the point of her scrapping in 2008, she remained the fastest conventional ferry in the world, with a recorded top speed of 33.5 knots. [cite web|url=|title=Finnjet's Records|publisher=Finnjet Web|accessdate=2008-09-14|quote=fastest conventional ferry of the world (1977 - 1994; 1994 - 2001; 2001- ), 31 kn; 33 kn [..] since May 1977]

The "Finnjet" had remained out of service since 2005, laid up in Baton Rouge, Freeport and Genoa. Although she was purchased by Club Cruise in November 2007 and renamed GTS "Da Vinci" in January 2008 for rebuilding into a cruise ship,cite web |url= |title=It's official: FINNJET is sold! |accessdate=2008-01-21 |author=Mathias Saken |date=2008-01-20 |publisher=Finnjetweb News] the ship was sold for scrap in May 2008.cite web |url= |title=GTS "Finnjet" headed for breaker's yard |accessdate=2008-05-08 |last=Tukkimäki |first=Paavo |date=2008-05-06 |language= |work=Helsingin Sanomat International Edition |publisher=Helsingin Sanomat ] Following the sale she was renamed GTS "Kingdom" for her final voyage to the scrapyard in Alang, India where scrapping finally started in September 2008.


Finnjet was built at the Wärtsilä shipyard (now Aker Finnyards) (Build-No. 407) in Helsinki, Finland and delivered to Enso-Gutzeit to serve in their subsidiary Finnlines. The ship was built specifically for the route between Helsinki in Finland and Travemünde in West Germany which Finnlines had previously trafficked with slower conventional ferries. Thanks to her gas turbine engines and top speed of 31 knots, [ Finnjetweb: Finnjet's Speed] , retrieved 23. 9. 2007] a one-way crossing was planned to take only 22 hours for the ship. At the time Travemünde was the closest port to Finland in mainland Western Europe, being located in the Federal German state of Schleswig-Holstein just west of the border with East Germany.

In addition to being the largest and fastest ship of her time, Finnjet is also widely considered to have been the first genuine cruiseferry. Her cabins were very much ahead of their time for a ferry, it was not until over a decade later when other ferries would match the size and fittings of Finnjet's cabins. Her restaurants and other services were also superior to other ferries of her time. Finnjet's influence can be clearly seen on the first genuine cruiseferries built for Finland—Sweden traffic in 1980-81, ships such as MS "Viking Song", MS "Viking Sally" and MS "Finlandia".Partially due to being such a ground-breaking ship, Finnjet was also extremely prestigious, which helps explain why she remained in traffic on the Baltic Sea for such a long time even though she was often unprofitable. Famous Finnish painter Kimmo Kaivanto provided paintings and drawings to decorate the ship, and he even designed a Finnjet medallion to commemorate the ship's commission. Kaivanto's main work for the ship, the three-deck high "Pictures of Finland", was given to the Finnish Maritime Museum in 2007, and will be on display in the museum from 2008 onwards. [fi icon [ Tallink Silja news release - pictures of finland given to the Finnish Maritime Museum] , retrieved 14 May 2007] In 1977 a 7" single, Finnjet Waltz, was recorded in honour of the ship, and she was the first ship ever to have a Lego model of her for sale onboard. As late as the early 90's Silja Line still considered Finnjet to be one of their greatest ships, and in their brochures she appeared right after the brand-new Helsinki — Stockholm ferries, ahead of many ships that were both newer and larger than Finnjet herself was. Even today, three years after she stopped sailing from Finland, the Finnjet is still the best-known individual ship in the country. She also has a very good reputation in Germany still, and recently (August 2006) Silja Line's new owners Tallink went on record considering adapting the name Finnjet for their Finland - Germany ferries (to the dismay of ferry enthustiasts in Finland and Germany). [ [ Finnjetweb forums - Finnjet II? (Superfast renamings)] , retrieved 21. 7. 2007] However Finnjet is a registered trademark of Finnlines (until 2017) and therefore Tallink could not go ahead with their plan. [fi icon [ Finnish Trademark Register] , retrieved 9 May 2007]

ervice history


Due to her high fuel consumption (estimated fuel consumption for 22h travel time was 300 tons of fuel, approx 350 000 litres, this would mean approx 16 000l per hour), Finnjet was not a very profitable ship and after only a few years of service there were rumours that she would be sold. The ship was ordered in 1973, the beginning year of the first Oil Crisis, which reached it's peak around the time of the ship's launch. Yet another huge leap of the oil price occurred near the turn of the decade. To increase her profitability, the ship was converted to a combined diesel-electric and gas propulsion with the addition of diesel-electric generators in 1981 in Amsterdamse Droogdok Maatschappij, Amsterdam. The change allowed to operate the ship on slower speeds with cheaper fuel during the winter months. On the way to the shipyard she became the largest ship to have passed through the Kiel Canal at that time. A year later 75% of Finnjet's shares were sold to Effoa (one of the owners of Silja Line), and Finnjet Line was established as a joint venture of Finnlines and Effoa to operate the Finnjet. Starting from November 1985, Finnjet made 24-hour (later 22-hour) backtracking cruises from Helsinki during the winter season. The final batch of these cruises in October-December 1995 included a short stop in Tallinn. In January 1986 another major renovation was carried out at Wärtsilä Helsinki, with new Commodore-class cabins added in place of the old sundeck. Shortly after the refit the Denmark-based DFDS made an offer to buy the Finnjet, but the offer was refused. Instead, in June of the same year Finnlines sold their remaining shares of the Finnjet to Effoa. In the beginning of 1987 the ship was painted in Silja Line's colors and incorporate in Silja's fleet. However, the technical responsibility for operating the Finnjet remained with Finnlines until May 1989 (this was of little consequence as Finnlines was almost entire owned by Effoa at the time).


After the ship had become a part of the Silja Line fleet, further renovations at HDW Kiel in 1987, 1988 and 1989 saw almost all of the ship's public spaces rebuilt. In 1990 Effoa merged with its fellow Silja Line partner Johnson Line to form EffJohn. In 1991 an extremely large-scale reconstruction was planned, where the ship would have been lengthened by 20 meters, cabins enlarged, a new outdoor swimming pool added, and much the superstructure built to a sleeker appearance. Unfortunately the plan proved to be too costly and was abandoned; the funds that had been raised for this reconstruction went to the rebuilding of MS "Svea" and MS "Wellamo" into "Silja Karneval" and "Silja Festival".

Starting from 1992 Finnjet was used to monitor surface-layer chlorophyll, temperature and salinity in waters she sailed through for research by the Finnish Institute of Marine Research. [ [ Phytoplankton Blooms in the Baltic Sea in 1994] , retireved 17 March 2007] A new transmission system installed in 1994 (again at HDW Kiel) raised the top speed to 33 knots and allowed for a mixed operation of turbines and diesel engines. September of the same year MS "Estonia", Finnjet's former fleetmate, sank during a heavy storm on the North Baltic. Finnjet was amongst the ferries used to search for survivors on the disaster area but she had to leave soon when cars carried on her upper cardeck started moving in the heavy seas, creating another potentially dangerous situation. In 1997 Finnjet was docked at Götaverken Cityvarvet, Gothenburg and rebuilt with a larger tax-free shop in preparation for her new itenaries where she served on the Helsinki — Travemünde route only during the summer months, the rest of the year sailing on the Helsinki — Tallinn route. Originally the port in Tallinn was Muuga, but when the ship-way of Tallinn's old harbour was reconstructed in 1998, Finnjet moved there from the start of January 1999. Between 1997 and 2000 segments for the Finnish comedy series Huuliveikot ( [ Finnish Wikipedia article] ) were shot onboard the Finnjet.

In 1999 the summer-route was altered to Helsinki — Tallinn — Rostock. In autumn of the same year the Finnish Institute of Marine Research installed new equipment for monitoring water quality and algae. In 2001 the ship was docked with modifications made to the turbines and propeller shaft. These and a new bottom paint allowed her to increase her top speed once more, to 33,5 knots. In mid-May 2002, only a few days after Finnjet's 25th anniversary cruise, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported the ship was for sale. At the time the information was thought to be false but later reports indicate the Finland-based Eckerö Line did consider buying her around that time. In April 2004 Finnjet called in Helsinki for the last time, after which she left for another refit at Aker Finnyards, Rauma in preparation for her new St. Petersburg—Tallinn—Rostock -route. During the refit most of her interiors were entirely rebuilt, new rudders were installed and bridge wings covered. The new route was believed to be profitable all year round, but this proved not to be the case. After the first summer season Finnjet was laid up for the winter 2004-2005. The route was eventually terminated after the 2005 summer season, and the ship was put up for sale.


During the winter of 2005—2006, "Finnjet" was chartered to the faculty of medicine of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans to provide housing to students, faculty, and staff displaced by Hurricane Katrina. She was moored on the west bank of the Mississippi River across from Baton Rouge, at the base of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge.

On 6 June 2006, at the end of her charter, "Finnjet" left Baton Rouge for Freeport, in the Bahamas. At the same time her ownership passed from Silja Line to their (then-)parent company Sea Containers. The ship had all Silja Line markings painted over and was reflagged from Finnish to Bahamian registry. During the following months, several rumours surfaced about the future use of the ship. These included a sale to a Florida-based company as a casino-ship, [ [ Finnjetweb news, 3. 8. 2006] , retrieved 17 March 2007] a sale to Moby Lines, [ [ FCBS Forum - Finnjet's Future after Baton Rouge] , retrieved 17 March 2007] a charter or sale to the St. Kitts and Nevis -based cruise company Royal Zante Cruises, [ [ Royal Zante Cruises To The Caribbean] , retrieved 17 March 2007] [ [ Cruise Ship Lodging For Cricket World Cup] , retrieved 17 March 2007] [ [ Sun St.Kitts/Nevis: Cruise Ship Recall ... Economic Sense Prevents Docking] , retrieved 19 March 2007] and a charter to Venezuela-based company for two years from June 2007 onwards. [ [ Siljaweb & Finnjetweb Forums - Finnjet's Sale] , retrieved 2 May 2007] On 28 October 2007 reported that "Finnjet" was to be sold to a Bahama-based, US-controlled company that planned to rebuild her into the world's largest, most luxurious casino-cruise ship, capable of catering for some 3100 guests; [ [ Finnjetweb news 28. 10. 2007] , retrieved 28. 10. 2007] plans for the reconstruction were reportedly to be drawn by the Finnish icon [,3:1004:0:0,4:4:0:1:2007-11-07,104:4:496954,1:0:0:0:0:0 Turun Sanomat 7. 11. 2007: Deltamarin suunnittelee Finnjetistä luksusluokan kelluvaa kasinoa] , retrieved 7. 11. 2007]

On 21 November 2007 the ship was sold to Cruise Ship Holdings Four, a daughter company of the Holland-based Club Cruise. On 16 January 2008 she was officially renamed "Da Vinci", and sailed to the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, where she was to be rebuilt into a cruise ship. However, it turned out that the price of the conversion was much higher than anticipated, [cite web |url= |title=Trouble at Club Cruise? "Van Gogh" UK Plans Axed; "Da Vinci" Scrap Rumors; "Astoria" Sale Imminent? |accessdate=2008-05-08 |date=2008-05-07 |last=Newman |first=Doug |format= |work=At Sea with Doug Newman ] and as a result "Da Vinci" was sold for scrap in May 2008 at a price of approximately $9.85 million (6.5 million). On 6 May 2008 she left Genoa for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where she was turned over to her new owners in mid-May at lastest.

Finnjet was then renamed "Kingdom" and arrived at the scrapyard in Alang, India on Friday, 13 June 2008. On Thursday, 19 June the ship was beached at Plot 109 of the Alang scrapyard. Although partially beached, scrapping did not start immediately and last-ditch attempts to save the ship took place. Later in the summer, it was announced that all efforts to rescue "Finnjet" had failed and the actual process of scrapping began on 12 September 2008. cite web|quote=Finnjet has arrived at Alang, India on 13/6, she was beached on 19th June. Her demolition has now started (12th September)!|url=|date=2008-09-13|accessdate=2008-09-14|publisher=Finnjet Web|title=All about the legend of the Baltic Sea!] .


Public spaces have been named as they were when the ship was last in active service for Silja Line in 2005. On the Finnjet only decks to which passengers have access are numbered, the main engine room is below deck 1.

# Silja Spa, swimming pool
# Crew cabins, cardeck
# Crew cabins, driver's club, cardeck
# Seaside- and Tourist I-S-class cabins, information desk, Buffét Silja, galley, crew mess, crew dayroom, boarding
# Seaside- and Tourist I-S-class cabins, cinema, Chef's Dining, El Capitán and Maxim á la Carte -restaurants, sea shop, perfume shop
# Seaside- and Tourist I-S-class cabins, Siljaland children's playroom, hairdresser, Navigator's Pub, Seaside Café, Ocean Club nightclub, boarding
# "Air seats", crew accommodations, sundeck
# Bridge, crew accommodations, officer's mess, hospital
# Commodore-class cabins, Stardust Bar, crew's sundeck
# Stardust cabinet


External links

* []
* [ Finnjet Video Clips]

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