Finland: Turku Shipyard Lays Keel for Passenger Ferry Viking Grace
Work on Viking Line’s new passenger ferry, the MS Viking Grace, is proceeding as planned. The keel laying ceremony took place today at the STX Finland shipyard in Turku. The vessel will be launched in mid-August. It will go into service in January 2013.
The keel laying ceremony is an old tradition that is intended to bring good fortune to a new vessel. At this ceremony, the first section of the vessel was lifted down into the construction dock. Nine coins minted in 2012 are being placed under the first section of the MS Viking Grace. These coins are from the Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) series, including EUR 2, EUR 1, 50 cent, 20 cent, 10 cent, 5 cent, 2 cent and 1 cent denominations plus a commemorative Suomenlinna mint medal. Suomenlinna, a historic former naval fortress in Helsinki harbour, is a popular tourist attraction today.
When the hull is completed and the vessel is ready for launching, the coins are moved and welded in place under the vessel’s radar mast.
The keel laying is a way of celebrating the completion of the first section, around which the other sections will be assembled to create a finished vessel. At the same time, it is recognized as an official event; from this day onward, the vessel must fulfil all rules, laws and regulations in force on the keel laying date, which can thus be regarded as the vessel’s “date of birth”.
Length – 214 + 4 m
Width – 31.8 m
Speed – 22 knots
Gross tonnage – 57,000 DWT
Route – Turku-Mariehamn/Långnäs-Stockholm
Classification – Lloyd’s Register
Flag state – Finland
Passenger capacity – 2,800
Lane metres: Cargo 1,275 m, cars 500 m on Deck 4 plus 500 m on Deck 5
Planned delivery date: January 10, 2013
The ferry will begin scheduled service on January 15, 2013. A maiden voyage, which will also be sold to the public, is planned for January 13.
Shipbuilding Tribune Staff, March 7, 2012; Images: vikingline