|Traded as||OMX: TAL1T|
|Area served||Northern Europe|
|Key people||Enn Pant, Andres Hunt|
|Services||Passenger transport, freight, cruises|
|Revenue||943.9 million Euro (2012)|
|Profit||56.3 million Euro (2012)|
|Employees||6,868 (avg. FY 2012)|
Tallink is an Estonian shipping company currently operating Baltic Sea cruiseferries and ropax ships from Estonia to Finland, Estonia to Sweden, Latvia to Sweden and Finland to Germany. They also own Silja Line and a part of SeaRail. It is one of the largest passenger and cargo shipping companies in the Baltic Sea region.
History of the company known today as Tallink can be traced back to the year 1965 when the Soviet Union-based Estonian Shipping Company (ESCO) started passenger traffic between Helsinki and Tallinn with MS Vanemuine. Regular around-the-year traffic was started in 1968 with MS Tallinn, which served on the route until she was replaced by the new MS Georg Ots in 1980.
In May 1989 ESCO formed a new subsidiary, Laevandusühisettevõte Tallink, together with the Finnish Palkkiyhtymä Oy. In December of the same year ESCO and Palkkiyhtymä purchased MS Scandinavian Sky from SeaEscape, and the ship began traffic on the Helsinki–Tallinn route in January 1990 as MS Tallink. Later in the same year the freighter MS Transestonia joined the Tallink on the Helsinki–Tallinn route and Tallink was established as the name of the company as well as the main ship. At the same time ESCO still operated the Georg Ots in the same route, essentially competing with its own daughter company. This conflict was resolved in September 1991 when the Georg Ots was chartered to Tallink. In the early 1990s passenger numbers on Helsinki–Tallinn traffic were steadily increasing, and during winters between 1992 and 1995 Tallink chartered MS Saint Patrick II from Irish Ferries to increase capacity on the route.
Tallink became a fully Estonian-owned company in 1993 when Palkkiyhtymä sold its shares of both the Tallink company and MS Tallink to ESCO. At this time other companies were establishing themselves on the lucrative Helsinki–Tallinn traffic, including the Estonian New Line, owned by the Tallinn-based Inreko. ESCO and Inreko saw no sense in competing with each other and in January 1994 Tallink and Inreko Laeva AS were merged into AS Eminre. Tallink remained the marketing name for the company's fleet. Later in the same year Inreko purchased MS Nord Estonia from EstLine (a daughter company of ESCO and the Swedish Nordström & Thulin Ab), renamed her MS Vana Tallinn and placed her in Helsinki–Tallinn traffic for Tallink. Inreko also brought with them two fast hydrofoils, HS Liisa and HS Laura which began serving under the Tallink Express brand. In 1994 Tallink also attempted traffic from Estonia to Germany for the first time, with two chartered ferries MS Balanga Queen and MS Ambassador II that were placed on the route Helsinki–Tallinn–Travemünde.
In September 1994 AS Eminre's operations were divided into two companies, one that took care of the traffic to Germany (which was soon closed down) and AS Hansatee which took the Helsinki–Tallinn traffic and the Tallink name. ESCO was clearly the dominant partner in Hansatee, controlling 45% of the shares, whereas Inreko owned only 12.75% (the remaining 42.25% belonging to Eesti Ühispank, Estonia). In 1995 Hansatee brought the first large ferry into Helsinki–Tallinn traffic when they chartered MS Mare Balticum from EstLine and renamed her MS Meloodia. Following various disputes between ESCO and Inreko (most notably about the charter price of Vana Tallinn), Inreko sold their shares of AS Hansatee to ESCO in December 1996. At the same time Inreko sold the Tallink Express hydrofoils to Linda Line, Estonia, and begun operating the Vana Tallinn on Helsinki–Tallinn traffic under the name TH Ferries.
In 1997 a second large ferry was brought to Tallink's traffic when the company chartered MS Normandy from Stena Line. To replace the lost hydrofoils, Hansatee purchased a new express catamaran in May 1997, which was named MS Tallink Express I. At this time it was clear that two large ferries were needed for traffic between Helsinki and Tallinn, and when the Normandy's charter ended in December 1997 Tallink purchased MS Lion King from Stena Line, which entered traffic in February 1998 as MS Fantaasia. In July of the same year Tallink purchased the freighter MS Kapella which opened a line from Paldiski to Kapellskär, Tallink's first route to Sweden. In October the original MS Tallink, which no longer conformed modern safety regulations, was sold. Two months later Hansatee purchased their first fast ferry capable of carrying cars, HSC Tallink AutoExpress.
By the year 2000 ESCO had become the sole owner of EstLine, and in December 2000 EstLine's two ferries MS Regina Baltica and MS Baltic Kristina were chartered to Hansatee, and the line between Tallinn and Stockholm began to be marketed as a part of Tallink. A few months earlier, in August 2000, Hansatee had ordered their first newbuild from the Finnish Aker Finnyards. In June 2001 Tallink purchased HSC Tallink AutoExpress 2, while next month EstLine was declared bankrupt.
In 2002 AS Hansatee changed its name into AS Tallink Grupp, and in May of the same year the company took delivery of the brand new 2500-passenger cruiseferry MS Romantika, which was placed on Helsinki–Tallinn traffic. In November of the same year the classic Georg Ots was sold to the government of Russia. In 2004 three news ships joined Tallink's fleet, HSC Tallink AutoExpress 3 and HSC Tallink AutoExpress 4 alongside the Romantika's sister MS Victoria I which was placed on Tallinn–Stockholm route, replacing MS Fantaasia which in turn started a new route from Helsinki to St. Petersburg via Tallinn. This route proved unprofitable and was terminated in January 2005. Later in 2005 Tallink ordered a sister ship of the to-be delived MS Galaxy and a fast ropax ferry from Aker Finnyards as well as another ropax ferry from the Fincantieri yard in Italy. On December 9, 2005, Tallink was listed at Tallinn Stock Exchanges.
In 2006, Tallink purchased the Baltic Sea operations of Superfast Ferries from Attica Group, opened a route between Riga and Stockholm (with MS Fantaasia, which was within a month replaced by MS Regina Baltica), took delivery of the new MS Galaxy which replaced Romantika on the Tallinn–Helsinki route, transferred Romantika to the Tallinn–Stockholm route, and withdrew AutoExpress from service. A few months later, the company purchased the rival Finnish passenger line Silja Line from Sea Containers Ltd. In October 2006, the company expressed an interest in making an offer to operate ferries on the state-subsidized routes between the Swedish island of Gotland and the Swedish mainland between 2009 and 2015.
From the beginning of 2007, the former Superfast ships were moved under the Tallink brand and their route changed to Tallinn–Helsinki–Rostock. In April of the same year, Aker Yards delivered the fast cruiseferry MS Star that had been ordered in 2005. With the delivery of the Star, Meloodia was chartered to Balearias, Spain for ten months and later sold, while AutoExpress 3 and AutoExpress 4 were also withdrawn. During April 2007 Tallink also ordered a third Galaxy-class cruiseferry from Aker Yards.
Two new ships followed in 2008, with the fast cruiseferry MS Superstar delivered from Fincantieri and the second Galaxy-class ship, MS Baltic Princess, delivered from Aker Yards. Both ships were placed in service between Helsinki and Tallinn With the delivery of the former, the last AutoExpress fast craft, AutoExpress 2, was withdrawn from Helsinki–Tallinn service. Baltic Princess, meanwhile, replaced her sister ship Galaxy, which was transferred to the fleet of Silja Line. With the arrival of Galaxy MS Silja Festival was left without employment in the Silja fleet, and she was in turn transferred to Tallink's fleet, joining Regina Baltica on the Riga–Stockholm service. In November 2008, MS Superfast IX, one of three ships purchased from Superfast Ferries in 2006, was chartered to the Canadian Marine Atlantic ferry operator for five years. In April 2009, Tallink took delivery of its last newbuilding (as of 2010), when MS Baltic Queen was delivered STX Europe (the former Aker Yards). The new ship was placed on the Tallinn–Mariehamn–Stockholm service alongside Victoria I. Romantika, that had been Victoria I's running mate since 2006, was in turn transferred to the Riga–Stockholm route, where she replaced Regina Baltica that was in turn chartered out to Acciona Trasmediterránea.
In December 2009, it was reported that company was struggling to repay its debts of 1.1 billion euros. The fiscal year ending in August resulted in an operating loss, and the company had to re-negotiate with its 15 funding banks debt repayment schedules for the years 2009–2011. The banks took a more controlling role in the company: it could no longer pay dividends, make investments, or sign new contracts without its creditors' approval. Tallink also had to pick up the pace in debt repayments if conditions were to improve, and had to look for options to sell or rent some of its ships. Most of its debts were incurred for purchasing Silja Line for 470 million and Superfast Ferries for 310 million euros.
In November 2009, Tallink temporarily withdrew MS Superfast VII and MS Superfast VIII from the Germany–Finland service. The ships spent the winter of 2009–2010 laid up in Kopli, before re-commencing service between Helsinki and Rostock in April 2010.
In March 2011, it was confirmed that the MS Superfast VIII and MS Superfast VII have been chartered to Stena Line for a period of three years, with the option to extend the charter for another year. Stena Line will use these ships for Scotland-Northern Ireland service. The vessels will be delivered after the end of the high season in August 2011. Until then they are operated on their current route by Tallink. The prospective charter will improve the result of these vessels so that they will be generating a profit.
Ignored man overboard
In April 2006 Tallink's ferry MS Regina Baltica, en route from Tallinn to Stockholm, ignored when multiple passengers reported that a passenger had fallen overboard. The crew refused to stop the ship to search for the passenger and the 21 year-old Estonian male perished in the incident. Tallink later accepted no responsibility for the accident, emphasizing that none of the passengers confirmed actually seeing the man falling overboard or in the water.
In October 2006, the board of Tallink held a meeting on board their ship MS Silja Symphony. During the night, the party got out of control and became headline news in Sweden, Estonia and Finland. Media claimed that the board members assaulted personnel, abused them verbally and threatened to fire the whole crew when they tried to calm them down.
|MS Silja Europa||Cruiseferry||1993||2013||Tallinn–Helsinki (until 06.08.14)||59,914 GT||Estonia||Transferred from Silja Line. "Silja" prefix retained in registered name.|
|MS Baltic Queen||Cruiseferry||2009||2009||Tallinn–Mariehamn–Stockholm (until 05.08.14) Tallinn-Helsinki (from 07.08.14)||48,900 GT||Estonia|
|MS Regal Star||Ro-Ro||1999||2004||Paldiski–Kapellskär||15,281 GRT||Estonia|
|MS Romantika||Cruiseferry||2002||2002||Riga–Stockholm (until 06.08.14) Tallinn-Stockholm (from 07.08.14)||39,864 GT||Latvia||First newbuild delivered to Tallink.|
|MS Sea Wind||Ro-Ro||1972||1989||Turku–Stockholm||15,587 GRT||Sweden|
|MS Star||Fast Ro-Pax||2007||2007||Tallinn–Helsinki||36,249 GT||Estonia|
|MS Superstar||Fast Ro-Pax||2008||2008||Tallinn–Helsinki||36,400 GT||Estonia|
|MS Victoria I||Cruiseferry||2004||2004||Tallinn–Mariehamn–Stockholm||40,975 GT||Estonia|
|MS Isabelle||Cruiseferry||1989||2013||Stockholm-Riga||34 937 GT||Latvia||Bought from Viking Line in April 2013. Replaced Silja Festival in May 2013.|
|1May be specified in gross tonnage (GT) or gross register tons (GRT).|
|MV Atlantic Vision||Fast Ro-Pax||2002||2008–2013||Port aux Basques - North Sydney||30,285 GT||Canada||Since 2008 under charter to Marine Atlantic.|
|MS Stena Superfast VIII||Fast Ro-Pax||2001||2011–2014||Belfast - Cairnryan||30,285 GT||United Kingdom||Since 2011 under charter to Stena Line till Autumn 2019|
|MS Stena Superfast VII||Fast Ro-Pax||2001||2011–2014||Belfast - Cairnryan||30,285 GT||United Kingdom||Since 2011 under charter to Stena Line till Autumn 2019|
|MS Regina Baltica||Cruiseferry||1980||2012–2012||-||18,345 GT||Latvia||Since April 2013 serves as a floating hotel for the Bard Offshore1 windfarm, Germany|
|MS Silja Festival||Cruiseferry||1986||2008–2013||-||34,414 GT||Latvia||Since 2014 March serves as Floating accommodation in Kitimat, British Columbia|
|Ship||Built||In service||Tonnage1||Status as of 2011|
|MS Tallink||1972||1989–1996||10,341 GRT||Scrapped in Alang, India, 2005|
|MS Transestonia||1972||1990–2000||2,386 GRT||Scrapped in Alang, India, 2006|
|MS Saint Patrick II||1973||1992–1995||7,984 GRT||Since 2002 MS C.T.M.A. Vacancier for Coopérative de transport maritime et aérien|
|MS Georg Ots||1980||1993–2000||12,549 GRT||Scrapped in China in 2014.|
|4,238 GRT||Since 2000 MS Apollo, owned by Labrador Marine Inc|
|MS Balanga Queen||1968||1994||10,448 GRT||Since 1994 MS Discovery Sun for Discovery Cruise Line|
|MS Ambassador II||1970||1994||7,993 GRT||Since 1999 sails for Sterling Casino Lines|
|MS Meloodia||1979||1996–2006||17,955 GT||Since 2007 MS ARV 1 Equinox Offshore Accommodation|
|MS Tallink Express I||1989||1997–2001||430 GRT||Since 2008 MS Panormitis, owner unknown|
|MS Normandy||1981||1997||17,043 GRT||Since 2008 owned by Equinox Offshore Accommodation|
|MS Fantaasia||1979||1997–2006||10,604 GT||Laid up at Sandefjord, Norway since 2008 as MS Kongshavn|
|HSC Tallink Autoexpress||1996||1999–2006||5,308 GRT||Since 2006 HSC Alcantara Dos, owned by Acciona Trasmediterránea|
|MS Baltic Kristina||1973||2001–2002||12,281 GRT||Since 2007 MS Rigel for Ventouris Ferries|
|HSC Tallink AutoExpress 2||1997||2001–2007||5,307 GRT||Since 2007 under charter to Consolidada de Ferrys until September 2009|
|HSC Tallink Autoexpress 3||1997||2004–2007||3,971 GRT||Since 2007 HSC Queen Nefertiti for Arab Bridge Maritime Co|
|HSC Tallink Autoexpress 4||1996||2004–2007||3,971 GRT||Since 2007 HSC Speedrunner II for Aegean Speed Lines|
|MS Galaxy||2006||2006–2008||48,915 GT||Since 2008 sailing for Silja Line.|
|MS Vana Tallinn||1974||1994–2011||10,002 GT||Sold to Allferries SA in 2011.|
|MS Kapella||1974||1998-2012||7 564 GT||Sold to Reklon Holding in August 2012|
|MS Baltic Princess||2008||2008-2013||48,300 GT||Since 2013 sailing for Silja Line.|
- Viking Line – rival operator
- SeaRail: Information about SeaRail, retrieved 2007-11-02
- (Finnish) FCBS Forum: Re: Tallinkin, ESCO:n, Inrekon jne. suhteista, retrieved 2007-11-02
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- Tallink brochure, summer 1994
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- Port of registry: MS/Atlantic Vision, retrieved 2012-01-04
- "Kitimat smelter operator to house temporary workers on cruise ship". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tallink.|
- Official site
- Tallink at Fakta om Fartyg (Swedish)
- History of ESCO, EstLine and Tallink by Joni Huopana (Finnish)