Ferry delivered as investor interest grows

03 Apr 2012
‘Lolland’ is first of two from Sietas

‘Lolland’ is first of two from Sietas

The first of two new double-ended ferries from the troubled German Sietas shipyard goes into service in the Baltic this month while the yard, still in receivership, reported new investor interest.

Tom Todd writes: The 99.9m Lolland, originally named Samsø, was entering service between the Danish islands of Lolland and Langeland, marking the start of a new era for her Danish operator Danske Faerger A/S (Faergen). She is scheduled to be joined in May by a sister Langeland, currently under build at insolvent yard Sietas in Hamburg-Neuenfelde. A third ship was ordered originally but has now reportedly been cancelled.

The ships are to meet an expected increase in passengers after completion of the Fehmarnbelt fixed link between Germany and Denmark. The introduction of Lolland alone has increased capacity on the Lolland-Langeland route by 142%, Faergen said.

Costing €20million apiece, they are 99.9m long and 18.2m wide and of 4,780gt drawing maximum 3.25m. Carrying up to 600 passengers and 122 vehicles on a total 624 lane metres, they are said to combine Scandinavian design and passenger comfort with state-of-the art technology.

Lloyds classified, they are driven by Caterpillar 850kW diesel-electric engines and Azimuth propellers which can be operated with bio-diesel and have also been built for easy conversion to LNG if required.

The engines provide about 16 knots and are said to boast low fuel consumption even in shallow waters. Another novelty is the transfer of engine room controls to the bridge, a move which has eliminated the engine control room and means captain and engineer are together.

The importance of the new service and ships was pointed up by the naming of Lolland in Spodsbjerg on Langeland by the wife of the Danish Transport Minister and a ceremony attended by more than 100 guests.

The ships are however just as important for Sietas, which is trying to stay afloat after going into insolvency in 2011. The future of the yard group, which also includes crane builder NMF and the Norderwerft, remains uncertain, but the delivery of Lolland came as the yard indicated its search for new investors might be bearing fruit.

It said it was in “concrete negotiations” with prospective buyers in Germany, Europe and overseas who were “interested in an overall solution”. Bids would be firmed up and confirmed by mid May, it said.

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