Earlier today, Baltic ferry operator Tallink announced that it has agreed to charter two of its cruiseferries to a Dutch organisation for use as refugee accommodation vessels.
Both SILJA EUROPA and GALAXY have been chartered for seven months with the option of a three month extension. Under the agreement, Tallink will supply technical crew only.
This latest agreement brings the total number of vessels short-term chartered out from the Tallink fleet to five. They are as follows:
|Vessel||Chartered to||From (Duration)|
|Silja Europa||Slaapschepen Public BV (NL)||20.08.22 (7+3 months)|
|Galaxy||Slaapschepen Public BV (NL)||20.08.22 (7+3 months)|
|Victoria 1||Scottish Government||08.07.22 (6+3 months)|
|Isabelle||Estonian Social Insurance Board||07.04.22 (4+2+2 months)|
(first option already exercised)
|Romantika||Holland Norway Line||03.22 (3+1+1 years)|
Additionally, the company sold its Ro-Pax SEA WIND (now A WIND) earlier this year. A further vessel, ATLANTIC VISION (ex SUPERFAST IX), is on long-term charter to Marine Atlantic.
The charter of SILJA EUROPA will begin on 20 August, while GALAXY will begin her charter on 20 September. GALAXY will transfer from the Swedish to the Estonian flag, with her Swedish crew made redundant as a result.
According to Ålands Sjöfart, Tallink will not replace GALAXY on the Stockholm – Åland – Turku route, leaving BALTIC PRINCESS as the company’s only vessel on the route. Competitor Viking Line currently has its two newest ships, VIKING GLORY and VIKING GRACE, deployed on the same route.
Tallink’s decision to charter out most of its cruiseferry fleet of nine vessels suggests that the company feels that it is more profitable to take the guaranteed charter income than fight for passengers during the low season. Historically Tallink (and others) has used low fares to entice passengers onboard in the hope that the company can make good profits from onboard sales.
Tallink-Silja Director of Communications, Katri Link, has confirmed that the company wanted to find a secure income for the ships and that increased competition was also a factor.
As a consequence of chartering out SILJA EUROPA and GALAXY with only technical crew, Ålands Sjöfart reports that 265 Tallink staff will be without work.