When Finlandia left Helsinki’s West Harbour on 2 August on the first of two daily return crossings to Tallinn, it marked 20 years since her predecessor, Eestin Linjat, opened the route with Alandia on 26 August 1994. Then, as now, the Helsinki-Tallinn route was booming, with many companies vying for the market. Eckerö bought out its joint venture partner Birka and the group now consists of Birka Cruises, Eckerö Shipping (ex-Birka Cargo) and the original Eckerö Linjen.

For ten years until 2012, Eckerö Line operated two vessels: in addition to Nordlandia (ex-Olau Hollandia), bought in 1998, there was the ro-ro Translandia. When Finlandia (ex-Moby Freedom) was bought in 2012, entering service on New Year’s Eve that year, she did not raise passenger capacity much, but her engine output of 50MW and 27-knot speed plus ice class 1A meant that she could make the voyage an hour faster year-round and not get stuck in ice, as her predecessor famously did on 29 January 2010, when the crossing to Tallinn took ten hours. Translandia became surplus and was sold, while Nordlandia continued in a roro role.

Finlandia has paid back the €100 million investment in her as last year Eckerö Line transported over a million passengers for the first time, and this summer over 415,000 passengers and 60,000 vehicles crossed the Baltic. Eckerö Line is also proud of being the only Finnish flag carrier on the route. JP

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