Estonian Tallink makes RoPax purchase amid COVID-19
Estonian ferry company AS Tallink Grupp has expanded its fleet by purchasing a passenger roll-on / roll-off (RoPax) vessel from compatriot group Navirail OÜ.
The ship, MS Sailor, was acquired on 30 June 2020 from the Baltic SF VIII Ltd subsidiary of Tallink. On 9 July 2020, the RoPax is due to be handed over to its new owner in Paldiski. In the near future Tallink will announce the route and schedules for the vessel.
The vessel was designed in 1987 at Poland's Gdansk shipyard and is 157 meters long and 25 meters wide with a gross tonnage of 20,921. MS Sailor has a total of 60 cabins which accommodate 23 crew members and 119 passengers. This also has 1,500 lane meters for onboard transportation of RoRo freight and pax vehicles. The vessel has a velocity of around 19 knots.
First built for Neste OY in the late 1980s, the vessel was previously owned by Nordö Link and Finnlines and served under the name Finnsailor until 2015.
According to Tallink, MS Sailor is registered in the Cyprus Ship Registry, and will sail under the Estonian flag.
"The recent crisis has made it very clear that we need to strengthen our fleet with RoPax vessels to ensure that whatever happens in the world, we are able to react to any changes fast and have the necessary flexibility within our fleet to scale up either RoRo cargo or passenger transport as necessary,” Paavo Nõgene, Tallink Grupp’s CEO, stated.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an urgent and great need to secure RoRo cargo transportation between our home markets and this was mainly done with our passenger ferries, that are geared for operating feasibly if they carry both cargo and passengers. Carrying only RoRo cargo with a minimum number of passengers with such large passenger ferries is not economically viable and can only be done for a short time with subsidies," he added.
In May, Tallink secured government clearance on loan terms valued at up to € 100 million. The three-year government loan is expected to help offset the economic stresses the company has faced as a result of the effect of COVID-19 on the ferry market.
Maritime Business World