MS Finlandia, Eckerö Line’s new vessel with passenger capacity of 2,080 people, arrived to Passenger Terminal A of the Port of Tallinn on early afternoon of Monday, 31 December. The first passenger of the ship was welcomed in Tallinn, and the captain of “Finlandia” received from the Port of Tallinn a symbolic memorial plaque in memory of the ship’s maiden voyage to Tallinn.
“The Tallinn-Helsinki line still demonstrates record passenger numbers, and as of today morning more than 7.26 million people have circulated between those two capital cities,” says Allan Kiil, a board member of AS Tallinna Sadam. “I am convinced that our good partner Eckerö Line will be able to use this new comfortable vessel to contribute significantly to the increase in the number of passengers on this line.”
Eckerö Line’s executive director Irja Hanelius also says that the replacement of the vessel cruising between Tallinn and Helsinki is a remarkable step for the shipping company. “Today I am very pleased to say that the moment we have so long been waiting for has arrived and our 90 million euro investment has resulted in “Finlandia”, a vessel to turn a sea trip into a special experience, being at the passengers’ disposal,” Hanelius adds.
Tuire Huhta from Helsinki, the first passenger of MS Finlandia, was greeted in Tallinn by Allan Kiil, a board member of AS Tallinna Sadam, and Eckerö Line’s executive director Irja Hanelius. Upon receiving the memento prepared for the first passenger, Tuire Huhta praised the exceptionally good service and pleasant atmosphere on board. “And, of course, I love arriving to Tallinn, whatever the weather,” noted Huhta, who goes to Tallinn frequently.
By tradition, the captain of the vessel on its maiden voyage was greeted by the captain of the Port of Tallinn Andres Kungla, who handed a symbolic plaque to commemorate the first arrival of the ship to Tallinn to Kjell Jonasson, the captain of “Finlandia”.
MS Finlandia, intended to replace MS Nordlandia that Eckerö Line has been using so far and twenty years younger than the latter, sails under the flag of Finland. The journey from Tallinn to Helsinki will become one hour shorter, and from Helsinki to Tallinn, half an hour shorter than it takes now. As MS Finlandia is taken into use, all of the passenger ferries cruising between Tallinn and Helsinki are the vessels that have been built in the 21st century.
Eckerö Line Ab Oy is a Finnish shipping company founded in 1994 and belonging to the shipping corporation Eckerö Group, founded on Åland in 1961. The company uses two ships to offer passenger and cargo transportation services between Tallinn and Helsinki and is the only operator whose ship sails under the flag of Finland. The company offers a wide variety of package tours in Finland and Estonia to tourists. In 2011, the number of Eckerö Line’s passengers reached 940,000.
Eckerö Group consists of five companies: Eckerö Linjen, Eckerö Line, Birka Cruises, Birka Cargo and Williams Buss.
AS Tallinna Sadam ( Port of Tallinn) is a cargo and passenger port operator wholly owned by the Estonian state. In 2012, 8.84 million passengers passed through the ports of the Port of Tallinn, which is 4.3 per cent more than in the last year. The passengers of the Tallinn-Helsinki line constitute more than 80% of the total number of passengers.