Tallink Grupp purchases ro-pax vessel MS Sailor

The vessel is currently owned by Navirail OÜ, but has until recently been chartered out to shipping company DFDS

Tallink Grupp purchases ro-pax vessel MS Sailor
Photo: Tallink Grupp

Tallink Grupp has announced to the stock exchange that it has signed a contract with Navirail OÜ for the purchase of ro-pax vessel MS Sailor.

The vessel is a ro-pax type cargo ferry, built in 1987 at the Gdansk shipyard in Poland. It is 157m long and 25m wide with a gross tonnage of 20, 921. The vessel has a total of 60 cabins, accommodating 23 crew and 119 passengers. She has 1500 lane meters for ro-ro cargo and pax vehicle transportation on board. The vessel’s speed is about 19 knots.

The vessel is currently owned by Navirail OÜ, but has until recently been chartered out to shipping company DFDS and has been operating on the Paldiski-Kapellskär route. Originally built in late 1980s for Neste OY, the vessel has previously been owned by Nordö Link and Finnlines and operated until 2015 under the name Finnsailor.

Commenting on the strategic purchase, Tallink Grupp’s CEO Paavo Nõgene, said:

„The recent crisis has made it very clear that we need to strengthen our fleet with ro-pax vessels to ensure that whatever happens in the world, we are able to react to any changes fast and have the necessary flexibility within our fleet to scale up either ro-ro cargo or passenger transport as necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic there was an urgent and great need to secure ro-ro cargo transportation between our home markets and this was mainly done with our passenger ferries, that are geared for operating feasibly if they carry both cargo and passengers. Carrying only ro-ro cargo with a minimum number of passengers with such large passenger ferries is not economically viable and can only be done for a short time with subsidies.

For example, at present we have increased cargo capacity on the only Estonia-Sweden route between Paldiski and Kapellsär with our passenger ferry Isabelle.  The vessel predominantly transports cargo only as tourism between Estonia and Sweden is still not recommended due to the Swedish coronavirus situation, which in essence means that we are transporting over 600 empty cabins back and forth between the two countries every day. Operating passenger ferries for cargo transportation alone isn’t cost effective for our business.

With the above in mind and with several lessons learned from the recent pandemic, it thus makes perfect sense to diversify and strengthen our fleet for the future. Tallink Grupp ship Management team’s technical experts have carried out a thorough inspection of the ship and determined its excellent condition for our needs. We are confident this is a sound investment for the future for our company and strengthens our existing fleet.“

The transaction price is EUR 8.5 million.

The vessel was registered to Tallink Grupp under the Estonian flag in the Cyprus Ship Registry similarly to Tallink Grupp’s other vessels and will be handed over to Tallink Grupp in Paldiski on 9 July 2020. The company will make decisions and announce the vessel’s route and schedules in the near future.