Rauma Marine Constructions’ second newbuild Aurora Botnia will be celebrated in Vaasa, Finland, today. The vessel is estimated to arrive in Vaasa around noon, and it will receive its official name at the christening event starting at 3 p.m. The world’s most environmentally friendly car and passenger ferry will operate the route between Vaasa and Umeå, Sweden, daily.
The construction of the car and passenger ferry Aurora Botnia started with ceremonies in September 2019. The next major milestone was reached in February 2020 when the ship’s keel was laid. In September 2020, launching was celebrated one year after construction began, and in June 2021 the vessel first reached the sea.
Today, 25 August, the christening of Aurora Botnia will be celebrated in Wasaline’s hometown Vaasa. The vessel will arrive in Vaasa around noon, immediately after its second test run at sea.
The project has lasted for two years, cost EUR 120 million and had an employment impact of around 800 person-years. Therefore, it has been special for both Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) and Wasaline.
“We’ve had a wonderful opportunity to build such a magnificent vessel, which is totally unique even from a global perspective. I would like to thank the client for their excellent cooperation, which has enabled us to successfully complete the project, despite the very challenging conditions,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and President of Rauma Marine Constructions.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in this project, especially our staff, who have made this possible. We are now seeing the result of years of work and witnessing a historic day together: a ship designed for Kvarken will start operating. Aurora Botnia is the most environmentally friendly large RoPax ferry in the world, and its degree of domestic origin exceeds 80 per cent,” says Peter Ståhlberg, CEO of Wasaline.
The most environmentally friendly car and passenger ferry
Aurora Botnia is equipped with the latest environmental technology. The ship is significantly more environmentally friendly than the current requirements, which makes it the first car and passenger ferry in the world to meet the criteria of the Clean Design class notation.
Aurora Botnia can handle traffic to harbours with electricity, which reduces both emissions and noise generated. The ship’s sulphur, nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, for example, by main machines that operate primarily with liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Special attention has been paid to future fuels in the design of the vessel. Aurora Botnia is also able to utilise biogas as its fuel, which is considered one of the most realistic alternative fuels in the near future.
“It is of paramount importance for both the customer and the environment to build ships that stand the test of time. The ships we build today must also be able to operate in decades’ time without massive modifications or, at worst, scrapping. Aurora Botnia’s ability to utilise biogas is one way to meet this challenge,” says Heinimaa.
You can watch a live broadcast of the celebration in Vaasa today on Wasaline’s website at www.wasaline.com. The live stream will begin 3 p.m. The ship will embark on its maiden voyage on Saturday, 28 August 2021.
Aurora Botnia in a nutshell:
Length: 150 m
Width: 26 m
Draught: 6.1 m
Gross tonnage: 24,300
Speed: 20 knots
Lane metres: 1,500
Photo: Aurora Botnia on its way from RMC’s shipyard towards Vaasa. Photo credit: RMC/Antti Lehto.
The handover schedule for Aurora Botnia, which is in the final stages of commissioning at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard, was specified in July, when the delivery was announced to take place at the end of August. Currently, the updated delivery schedule remains unchanged.
Aurora Botnia, which will soon be operating between Vaasa and Umeå, is currently undergoing final commissioning work on the ferry’s operating systems at a rapid pace. RMC’s shipyard in Rauma is working long shifts and weekends to get the ship ready for delivery as soon as possible.
In July, RMC announced that Aurora Botnia’s delivery schedule had been altered to the end of August due to the commissioning of the ferry’s operating systems. There are currently no known changes to this specified schedule.
Tallink’s newest LNG-powered, environmentally friendly ship, MyStar, officially received its name today, 12 August, 2021. The ship under construction at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard was christened by the president of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid. The ship was also launched at the ceremony, with the event organised according to the strictest COVID-19 safety measures.
MyStar is, to date, the largest ship to be built at Rauma Shipyard. It is also the seventh vessel to be built for Tallink in Rauma. The ship is fuelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and once completed, will be the most environmentally friendly vessel to operate in the Baltic Sea. When it starts operating on the Helsinki-Tallinn route next year, two environmentally friendly high-speed shuttle ferries, MyStar and Megastar, will operate between Finland and Estonia. Both ships meet all current and currently known future emissions requirements.
“We are grateful that despite the difficult times, today we were able to celebrate an important milestone in the construction of our newest ship, MyStar. We are now meeting properly for the first time at the Rauma shipyard together with our partners. This is an important occasion not only for the MyStar project team, but also for the entire shipping industry and the passengers too. We are celebrating the fact that shipping will be increasingly environmentally friendly, efficient and responsible in the future,” said Paavo Nõgene, CEO, Tallink Grupp.
Strict COVID-19 safety measures implemented
MyStar’s celebrations were carried out in Rauma accompanied by strict COVID-19 safety and security measures. The christening and launching took place outdoors and invited guests were divided into several different areas to minimise personal contact. Access to the shipyard was staggered and, in addition, COVID-19 safety instructions were sent to all guests in advance. Upon arrival, guests also received their own bottle of hand sanitiser and a mask, which had to be worn during the ceremony, except when dining. The event was also streamed live, making it possible for guests to view the ceremony remotely.
According to Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions, it is important that amid long-lasting exceptional circumstances, the successful project can also be celebrated.
“We are very pleased that we were able to celebrate this important event today with strict COVID-19 safety and security measures in place. We have been working together for over a year, and both Tallink’s and RMC’s project teams deserve great praise for the work they have done in these challenging conditions. We are excited to proceed to a new stage in MyStar’s construction work as the work begins to shift from the exterior of the ship to the interior. At the same time, we can begin to look forward to the next milestone of the most environmentally friendly vessel to operate in the Baltic Sea,” said Heinimaa.
The next significant stage in the construction process is the handover of the MyStar from Rauma shipyard to Tallink, which is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2022.
Watch the recording of the live event here: https://vimeo.com/579361313/0e7187cf37
Tallink MyStar in a nutshell
- Length: 212 m
- Width: 30.6 m
- Draught: 7 m
- Gross tonnage: 50,000
- Speed: 27 knots
- Lane metres: 3,190
- Passengers: 3,000
- Cabins: 48
Aurora Botnia, the car and passenger ferry soon operating between Vasa and Umeå, completed its first sea trial in June. After the successful first trial, the preparations for the next sea trial have been underway in the RMC shipyard.
With further preparatory work making headway the delivery schedule for Aurora Botnia has been adjusted to late-August in order to allow enough time for the commissioning of the ferry’s operating systems. According to current estimates, the handover will occur during week 32 at the earliest.
When completed, the ship will be the most environmentally friendly car and passenger ferry, the uniqueness of which has also been reflected in its construction phase.
“The Aurora Botnia ferry uses a combination of new technologies and innovative solutions that are not found on any other car and passenger ferry in the world. When building such a ship, many things are being done and tested for the first time, which has affected, for example, the time required for the commissioning of the operating systems. With the handover in August, this fine car and passenger ferry will be completed without compromising on high quality”, tells Jyrki Heinimaa, the CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
According to Heinimaa, the work will continue efficiently at Rauma shipyard until the ferry’s completion.
“For both RMC and our customer, the target is of course to have Aurora Botnia handed over as soon as possible. We work long hours and weekends on the ship and monitor the progress of the work on a daily basis. At the same time, however, we must also ensure that the work can be done with a restricted number of people, complying the corona-safe limit.”
The exact date of the handover will be announced once the schedule is confirmed.
The construction of the largest car and passenger ferry in Rauma Marine Constructions‘ history was kicked off in April 2020 as the production of Tallink’s new shuttle ferry MyStar started at Rauma shipyard. Over the past year, the keel of the vessel has been laid and the main engines and tanks for LNG fuel have been installed. The vessel has reached its full length of 212 metres in the construction pool.
MyStar is currently being prepared for its christening and float-out ceremony, which will be held on 12 August 2021 at Rauma shipyard. The most environmentally friendly vessel to operate in the Baltic Sea is scheduled for delivery next year.
The route between Tallinn, Estonia, and Helsinki, Finland, is currently operated by Tallink’s flagship shuttle Megastar. The shuttle’s godmother is Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland. As MyStar will operate the same route in the future, the appropriate and logical choice for the vessel’s godmother is the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid.
According to Paavo Nõgene, CEO of Tallink Grupp, the choice was strongly influenced by Kaljulaid’s distinguished work for the environment and to mitigate climate change both globally and in Estonia.
President Kaljulaid sees MyStar as part of the story of Estonian seafaring.
“Two years ago, when the Estonian vessel Admiral Bellingshausen embarked on her Antarktika200 expedition voyage, it helped us to tell several stories – to introduce Estonia as a seafaring nation, Estonia as a high-tech country, as well as to raise public awareness of global environmental issues. Although MyStar and Admiral Bellingshausen are very different, at first glance, however, the story that these two ships are telling us, is similar. Estonia is a seafaring country and every year, there are more Estonian-flagged vessels that proudly display our national colours. This time, the addition to the fleet of our national-flagged vessels is very special indeed – both in terms of its size and the technology onboard, as well as for aiming to further reduce the emissions. Also, similarly, Tallink plays a special role in the Estonian economy, both as an employer as well as enabling tens of thousands of people to travel to work,” said Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia, and MyStar’s godmother.
Promoting sustainable shipping and seafaring is also important for both Tallink and RMC.
“For us, this new vessel symbolises new hope for a better future, because ships which are more environmentally friendly and energy efficient mean a cleaner Baltic Sea and better living environment for all of us. The tandem of our vessels Megastar and MyStar, which will be operating on the Tallinn-Helsinki route in 2022, will create a green bridge linking Estonia and Finland. We are particularly pleased that despite the difficult pandemic year behind us, we have been able to proceed with our strategic key investment projects as planned and despite all the challenges, MyStar will be completed in 2022,” Nõgene says.
“MyStar is the seventh and the most energy efficient vessel that is built or designed for Tallink in Rauma. As a shipbuilding company, our goal is to be the pioneer of environmentally friendly shipping, and we are proud to be driving more sustainable seafaring between Finland and Estonia together with our important and long-term customer,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, President and CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
After the christening and float-out ceremony, the construction of MyStar will continue inside the ship. The next significant milestone in the construction phase will be the delivery of the ship to Tallink in 2022.
The christening and float-out are part of the longs traditions of shipbuilding
MyStar was chosen as the name of Tallink’s new ferry as the result of an international naming contest which was held last year. However, as is customary in shipbuilding, the vessel will not be officially named until the christening ceremony.
Throughout the long history of shipbuilding, the christening of a ship has been considered to bring good luck and a long life to the vessel. MyStar will be christened at Rauma shipyard by breaking a bottle of champagne on its shipside. If broken on the first try, the champagne will be a sign of a bright future. According to Tallink’s tradition, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Reservé Brut will be used for the christening.
MyStar will also reach another significant milestone at the ceremony in August as the ship’s seaworthiness will be tested by floating it out of the shipyard. Historically, the launch of a ship has been risky: a failure could cause severe damage to the vessel. At RMC’s shipyard. the float-out will be conducted safely by filling the construction pool with water.
Tallink MyStar in a nutshell
- Length: 212 m
- Width: 30.6 m
- Draught: 7 m
- Gross tonnage: 50,000
- Speed: 27 knots
- Lane metres: 3,190
- Passengers: 3,000
- Cabins: 48
The Rauma City Council has approved the establishment of a joint-stock property company which will build a multipurpose construction hall at Rauma shipyard. The shipyard lot is owned by the city. The construction of the hall, which is estimated to cost around EUR 25 million, will start later this year.
The construction project was sparked by RMC’s agreement with the Finnish Defence Forces, which entails enhancing existing facilities at the shipyard and building some more. Successful implementation of the Squadron 2020 project in Rauma requires repairs at the shipyard lot and new construction hall facilities. For security reasons, the Finnish Navy’s multipurpose corvettes will be entirely built indoors.
The new property company will be owned by the City of Rauma and Rauma Marine Constructions. The city will own around 80 per cent of the property company and make a capital investment of EUR 801,000, while RMC will own around 20 per cent and invest EUR 199,000.
RMC will sign a 12.5-year lease agreement for the hall and will later have the right to buy the building. The construction of the hall will be carried out according to a project management model that will also offer smaller local construction companies opportunities to participate.
“These arrangements will secure the execution of the Squadron 2020 project in Rauma and support Rauma’s competitiveness in implementing the Finnish Navy’s security of supply. The project is also important in terms of employment, competitiveness and vitality across the whole Rauma region,” says Johanna Luukkonen, Mayor of Rauma.
“This is a very important investment for RMC. A multipurpose construction hall will allow the Squadron 2020 project to enter its construction phase next year. The employment impact of the project will be around 3,600 person-years,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and President of RMC.
The construction hall can be used in various shipbuilding projects
At the moment, the construction hall is planned to be approximately 180 metres long, 40 metres wide and 30 metres high. The size is optimal for building government vessels, which are generally smaller than commercial vessels, but the plan is to use the hall for building car and passenger ferries as well.
“We will be able to practically finish the Navy vessels in the hall and move them out as such. Commercial car and passenger ferries may be up to 220 metres long, so they can’t be completely finished inside the hall. However, our goal is to use the multipurpose hall when we build blocks for TT-Line’s ferries,” Heinimaa says.
The City of Rauma has already done some ground levelling in preparation for building the hall. Construction will begin later this year.
The car and passenger ferry Aurora Botnia is nearing the end of the construction phase at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard in Rauma, Finland and will be handed over to Wasaline in mid-July this year. The adjusted date of handover in July allows RMC enough time for the preparatory work done on the ferry’s innovative fuel solution to be completed and to assure a corona-safe working environment at the shipyard.
Last week, Aurora Botnia completed its first sea trial and performance tests. After the successful sea trial, the RMC shipyard has been preparing for the next sea trial that will concentrate on testing the ship’s primary fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG).
With further preparatory work for the second sea trial required, Aurora Botnia’s delivery schedule has also been adjusted.
“This is a new generation car and passenger ferry that can use LNG, electricity, and in the future, biogas as fuel. Preparatory work for the innovative fuel solution has taken more time than expected, which has resulted in an adjusted delivery date for July,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO, Rauma Marine Constructions.
According to Heinimaa, it is also very important that the final phase of construction work can be handled in a way that is as corona-safe as possible.
“Together with the customer, in March, we already decided that the most important thing is to keep the number of people finishing and commissioning the ship within corona-safe limits. We have succeeded in this, and the coronavirus situation at the shipyard has remained calm. With the July handover schedule, we will be able to continue working to ensure that the ship is handed over without compromising safety.”
The car and passenger ferry Aurora Botnia is nearing the end of the construction phase at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard. The ferry, which will operate on the route between the Finnish city of Vaasa and the Swedish city of Umeå, completed its first sea trial last weekend. The three-day sea trial was conducted with strict safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Only essential experts from RMC, Wasaline, and the equipment manufacturers attended the trial.
The sea trial represents a major milestone in the shipbuilding process to both RMC and Wasaline.
“This was definitely a highlight for us, a culmination of several years of effort. We were able to meet the expectations of our work, ensuring that the ship we built can operate as intended,” says Johanna Kaijo, Project Manager for Aurora Botnia at Rauma Marine Constructions.
“The event was important to Wasaline, too, as we had the opportunity to get to know our new ship and its operations in marine conditions for the first time with the project’s key personnel,” says Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director of Wasaline.
Performance and environmental sustainability under review
The sea trial was conducted to assess the performance of the vessel, which will be the world’s most environmentally friendly passenger car ferry when completed. The ship’s equipment were adjusted to operate as efficiently and economically as possible.
“We adjusted the power plant and tested the ship’s speed, propulsion and steering, among other things, during the sea trials. We ran the ship’s fuel-efficient main engines with different settings and fine-tuned the automation to further improve the vessel’s environmental sustainability. In addition, we were able to ensure in practice that the ship’s design meets the strict criteria of the Clean Design class notation,” Kaijo summarises.
Both RMC and Wasaline consider the first sea trial a success.
“The ship performed well, meeting the requirements set for it. It was a pleasure to witness the successful outcome of years of work,” says Kaijo, with Ståhlberg concurring.
A model example of a new generation car and passenger ferry
Aurora Botnia will be the first car and passenger ferry in the world with a Clean Design class notation. In practice, this means that the ship has been designed and built to significantly exceed the requirements of the MARPOL Convention for the prevention of pollution from ships.
The ship’s main engines operate primarily on low emission liquefied natural gas, which reduces sulphur, nitrogen and carbon dioxide emissions. In the future, the ship can be powered by biogas. In addition to the fuel solution, Aurora Botnia has an electric power system that can be used when operating to and from ports.
“Our goal is to be a pioneer in environmentally sustainable technology in shipbuilding. Our ship for Wasaline is a prime example of what we can achieve by combining years of experience from building dozens of previous ships with the latest innovations. We are grateful to the customer for the opportunity to build such a great vessel,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and President of Rauma Marine Constructions.
“We are very pleased to leverage RMC’s shipbuilding expertise. We want to be one of the most environmentally sustainable shipping companies, and Aurora Botnia is the most significant concrete step towards this goal,” says Ståhlberg.
Preparations are underway for the handover of Aurora Botnia in Vaasa, Finland. The date of the handover, the maiden voyage and the start of ticket sales will be announced next week.
In the photo Aurora Botnia pictured in the archipelago during the sea trials. Photo: Sammeli Korhonen