The second of Finnlines huge new Superstar-class ferries was launched at China Merchants Jinling (Wehai) shipyard on December 30, just four months after her keel was laid. Named FINNCANOPUS, the 64,603 gt ferry is expected to enter service during Autumn 2023. Sister-ship FINNSIRIUS was launched in August 2022 and is expected in service around July.
FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS will serve Finnlines’ Naantali–Långnäs–Kapellskär route and unlike the current vessels will carry foot passengers. Presently all passengers on the route must travel with a bicycle or vehicle of some type.
Finnlines’ new ships are the largest passenger ships to be built by the shipyard at Weihai, eclipsing even Stena’s lengthened “MkII” E-Flexer’s STENA ESTELLE and STENA EDDA which the yard delivered last year.
FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS have double the passenger capacity of the Star-class ships that they will replace and have over 25% more space for vehicles. Around 250 trucks and 200 cars will be able to be carried on each sailing along with 1,100 passengers.
The Finnlines pair are designed to be much more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. As well as being the first diesel-battery-hybrid ferries to be built at Weihai, the ships will also incorporate an air hull lubrication system, a shore power connection, waste heat recovery, and exhaust gas cleaning scrubbers to further their eco credentials. Using the shore power connection, the vessels will be able to turn off their auxiliary engines in port while also charging the onboard batteries which will provide power at sea.
Finnlines has also committed to minimise the environmental impact of onboard facilities and services. For example, recycled material is used in the furniture and printed materials such as menus are being replaced by digital screens and mobile apps. Heating, lighting and ventilation can also be adjusted automatically, further reducing energy consumption and so emissions.
Earlier this month, Finnlines announced that both FINNSIRIUS and FINNCANOPUS will be crewed by Finnish seafarers and fly the Finnish flag. According to the company, this means an additional 200 permanent jobs will be created plus additional jobs during the high season.