|Type||Public (OMX: VIK1V)|
|Headquarters||Mariehamn, Åland, Finland|
|Area served||Northern Europe|
|Key people||Mikael Backman (CEO)
Ben Lundqvist (Chairman)
|Products||Ferries, port services, passenger transportation, freight transportation, holidays, business travel|
|Revenue||516.1 million Euro (2012) |
|Operating income||2.4 million Euro (2012) |
|Net income||1.0 million Euro (2012) |
|Employees||3,014 (2012) |
Viking Line is a Finnish shipping company that operates a fleet of ferries and cruiseferries between Finland, the Åland Islands, Sweden and Estonia. Viking Line shares are quoted on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. Viking Line is operated from the Åland Islands.
Early years: 1959–1966
Viking Line's history can be traced back to 1959, when a group of sea- and businessmen from the Åland Islands province in Finland formed Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen, purchased a steam-powered car-ferry SS Dinard from the UK, renamed her SS Viking and began service on the route Korpo (Finland) — Mariehamn (Åland) — Gräddö (Sweden). In the same year the Gotland-based Rederi AB Slite began a service between Simpnäs (Sweden) and Mariehamn.
In 1962, a disagreement caused a group of people to leave Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen and form a new company, Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan, who began a service linking Gräddö and Mariehamn the following year.
Soon the three companies, all competing for passengers between Åland Islands and Sweden, realised that they in the long run all stood to lose from mutual competition. In 1965 Vikinglinjen and Slite began collaborating, and in the end of July 1966 Viking Line was established as a marketing company for all three companies. At this time Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen changed their name to Rederi Ab Solstad, in order to avoid confusion with the marketing company. The red hull livery was adopted from Slite's Ålandspilen service (to which it had been taken from the colour of the chairman's wife's lipstick!). In 1967 Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan changed its name to SF Line and in 1977 Rederi Ab Solstad was merged into its mother company Rederi Ab Sally.
Because Viking Line was only a marketing company, each owner company retained their individual fleets and could choose on which routes to set their ships (naturally there was also co-ordination on schedules and such). Each company's ships were easy to distinguish by name: all Sally ships had a "Viking" prefix on their names, Slite took their names from Roman and Greek mythologies, while SF Line's names ended with -ella in honor of managing director Gunnar Eklund's wife Ellen Eklund.
During the 1970s Viking expanded greatly and overtook Silja Line as the largest shipping consortium on the Northern Baltic Sea. Between 1970 and 1973 Slite and Sally took delivery of five nearly identical ships built at Meyer Werft Germany, namely MS Apollo and MS Diana for Slite, and MS Viking 1, MS Viking 3 and MS Viking 4 for Sally. MS Viking 5, delivered in 1974, was an enlargened version of the same design. These so-called Papenburg sisters can be considered to be one of the most successful ships designs of all times (the shipyard built three additional sisters of the original design for Transbordadores for ship services in Mexico: Coromuel, Puerto Vallarta and Azteca). In 1973 Viking Line started service on the Turku–Mariehamn–Stockholm route, directly competing with Silja Line for the first time. The next year Sally began Viking Line traffic between Helsinki and Stockholm. For the next decade this route stayed in their hands, whereas on other routes the three companies operated together.
By the latter half of the 1970s Sally was clearly the dominant partner in the consortium. In 1980 they took delivery of three new ferries (MS Viking Saga, MS Viking Sally and MS Viking Song), largest to have sailed under Viking's colours. This further established their dominance over the other partners, although SF Line did take delivery of the new MS Turella and MS Rosella in 1979–1980 and Slite MS Diana II in 1979. In the early 1980s Sally started expanding their operations to other waters, which became the company's failing as those operations were largely unprofitable and ultimately made Sally unable to invest on new tonnage for Viking Line service.
In 1985 a new leaf was turned in Viking Line's history when SF Line's brand-new MS Mariella, at the time the largest ferry in the world, replaced MS Viking Song on Helsinki–Stockholm service, breaking Sally's monopoly on the route. The next year Slite took delivery of Mariella's sister MS Olympia and thus forced Sally out of Helsinki–Stockholm traffic completely. While SF Line and Slite were planning additional newbuilds, Sally were in an extremely poor position financially and in 1987 Effoa and Johnson Line, the owners of Silja Line, purchased Sally. As a result SF Line and Slite forced Sally to leave the Viking Line consortium.
Between 1988 and 1990 SF Line took delivery of three new ships (MS Amorella, MS Isabella and MS Cinderella) while Slite took delivery of two (MS Athena and MS Kalypso). Unfortunately Wärtsilä Marine, the shipyard building one of SF Line's newbuilds and both of Slite's, went bankrupt in 1989. SF Line avoided financial repercussions, their Cinderella had been continuously paid for as her construction progressed. Hence it was SF Line who owned the almost completed ship when the shipyard went bankrupt. Slite however had signed a more traditional type of contract, the Kalypso was to be paid for on delivery. Since the shipyard owned the unfinished ship, this led to an increased cost for the Kalypso - about 200 million SEK more than had been originally envisaged. In the end, despite the financial problems, by 1990 Viking Line had the largest and newest cruiseferry fleet in the world.
In 1989 Slite started planning MS Europa, which was to be the jewel in the company's crown, the largest and most luxurious cruiseferry in the world. Unfortunately for them Sweden entered a financial crisis during the construction of the ship, which led to devaluation of the Swedish krona. This in turn meant that the cost for the Europa increased by 400 million SEK. When time came to take delivery of the new ship, Slite did not have the funds to pay for it and their main funders (Swedish Nordbanken, who were also the main funders of Silja Line) refused to loan them the money needed. Eventually the ship ended up in Silja Line's fleet and Slite was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1993.
Following the bankruptcy of Rederi AB Slite, SF Line was left as the sole operator under the Viking Line brand. The remaining two Slite ships, Athena and Kalypso were auctioned in August 1993. SF Line made a bid for the Kalypso, but both ships ended up sold to the newly established Malaysian cruise ship operator Star Cruises. In 1995 SF Line changed their name into Viking Line.
Between 1994 and 1996 the company operated a fast ferry service from Helsinki to Tallinn during the summers on chartered catamaran ships. In 1997 they purchased MS Silja Scandinavia from Sea-Link Shipping AB and renamed her MS Gabriella for Helsinki–Stockholm service. It has been reported that around the same time plans were made to construct a pair of new ships for the Helsinki–Stockholm service so that Viking could better compete with Silja on that route, but the plans were shelved.
In 2006 Sea Containers Ltd—that had become the main owner of Silja Line in 1999—placed Silja Line and their cargo-carrying subsidiary SeaWind Line for sale, except for GTS Finnjet and MS Silja Opera that were transferred under Sea Container's direct ownership and eventually sold. Viking Line placed a bid for their main competitor, but were outbid by the Estonian Tallink.
The first new ship built for Viking Line since Slite's MS Kalypso in 1990, MS Viking XPRS, had been ordered from Aker Finnyards in 2005, in response to growing competition from Tallink on the Helsinki–Tallinn route. The Viking XPRS eventually entered service for Viking in April 2008. A second new ship was ordered in January 2007, when Viking Line announced that they had placed an order for a 15,000 GT (gross tonnage) ferry at the Spanish shipyard Astilleros de Sevilla. The project name for the ship, that would have replaced the MS Rosella on the Mariehamn–Kapellskär route, was Viking ADCC. Her delivery was originally expected for March 2009, but after delivery of the ship had been delayed multiple times, on 8 February 2010 Viking Line decided to cancel the contract altogether.
Nils-Erik Eklund retired as Viking Line's CEO in July 2010. He was replaced by Mikael Backman, who has previously worked with Royal Caribbean. In interviews Backman has stated he hopes to introduce features from Caribbean cruise ships to Viking Line vessels, as well as begin selling Viking's routes to North American customers as a new cruise experience.
In a seminar held in January 2010 Backman stated that Viking Line were negotiating with nine different shipyards about the possibility of constructing a pair of 60,000 GT ships to replace Amorella and Isabella on the Turku–Stockholm service. The possibility of using liquefied natural gas engines and other emission-reducing technologies were reportedly researched, while according to Mikael Backman the ships would include various features akin to those found onboard cruise ships such as Royal Caribbean International's MS Oasis of the Seas. Projected delivery dates for the vessels were May 2012 and February 2013.
In October 2010 Viking Line signed a letter of intent with STX Turku for a 57,000 GT cruiseferry for the Turku–Stockholm route. Two months later, the formal order for the new ship was placed. The new ship, christened Viking Grace, was laid down on 6 March 2012 and launched on 10 August. The ship entered service in January 2013. Viking Line had an option for a sister ship but announced in May 2012 that they have decided not to build it.
|MS Amorella||1988||1988||Turku–Mariehamn/Långnäs–Stockholm||34,384 GT||Finland|
|MS Gabriella||1992||1997||Helsinki–Mariehamn–Stockholm||35,492 GT||Finland||ex-Frans Suell for Euroway, ex-Silja Scandinavia for Silja Line|
|MS Mariella||1985||1985||Helsinki–Mariehamn–Stockholm||37,799 GT||Finland|
|MS Rosella||1980||1980||Mariehamn–Kapellskär||16,879 GT||Finland|
|MS Viking Cinderella||1989||1989||Stockholm–Mariehamn (one-day cruises)
Stockholm–Riga (summers only)
Stockholm–Tallinn (summers only)
|46,398 GT||Sweden||Previously Cinderella; renamed Viking Cinderella in 2003|
|MS Viking XPRS||2008||2008||Helsinki–Tallinn||35,918 GT||Estonia||Was reflagged from Sweden to Estonia in January 2014.|
|MS Viking Grace||2013||2013||Turku–Mariehamn/Långnäs–Stockholm||57,000 GT||Finland|
|Ship||Years in service||Owner/operator||Tonnage||Status as of 2010|
|SS Viking||1959–1970||Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen||1,765 GRT||Scrapped 1973|
|Rederi AB Slite
|499 GRT||Scrapped 2006|
|MS Boge||1961–1963||Rederi AB Slite||530 GRT||Sunk 1981|
|MS Panny||1963–1964||Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen||761 GRT||Scrapped 1985|
|SS Ålandsfärjan||1963–1972||Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan||1,482 GRT||Scrapped 1972|
|MS Drotten||1964–1966||Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen||819 GRT||Scrapped 1979|
|MS Apollo||1964–1967||Rederi AB Slite||1,291 GRT||Scrapped 2006|
|MS Visby||1965 (chartered)
|Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan
Rederi AB Slite
|2,825 GRT||Scrapped 2002|
|MS Kapella||1967–1979||Rederi Ab Ålandsfärjan||3,159 GRT||Scrapped 2006|
|MS Viking 2||1968–1978||Rederi Ab Solstad||1,217 GRT||Scrapped 1979|
|MS Apollo||1970–1976||Rederi AB Slite||4,238 GRT||Since 2000 MS Apollo for Woodward Group|
|MS Viking 1||1970–1983||Rederi Ab Sally||4,239 GRT||Scrapped 2002|
|MS Marella||1970–1981||SF Line||3,930 GRT||Scrapped 2004|
|MS Viking 3||1972–1976||Rederi Ab Sally||4,299 GRT||Since 2007 MS Ionian Sprit for Agoudimos Lines. Laid up 2010|
|MS Diana||1972–1979||Rederi AB Slite||4,152 GRT||Since 2006 MS Jamaa II for Bayway Shipping Co.|
|MS Viking 4||1973–1980||Rederi Ab Sally||4,477 GRT||Scrapped 2005|
|MS Aurella||1973–1982||SF Line||7,210 GRT||Since 2002 MS C.T.M.A. Vacancier for C.T.M.A.|
|MS Viking 5||1974–1981||Rederi Ab Sally||5,286 GRT||Since 1988 MS Boughaz for Comarit|
|MS Viking 6||1974–1980||Rederi Ab Sally||5,073 GRT||Scrapped 2001|
|SS Apollo III
MS Apollo III
|Rederi AB Slite||4,334 GRT||Sold for scrap, July 2008.|
|MS Turella||1979–1988||SF Line||10,604 GRT||Since 2010 MS Regina Della Pace for Blue Line International|
|MS Diana II||1979–1992||Rederi AB Slite||11,671 GRT||Since 2007 MS ARV 1 for Equinox Offshore Accommodation|
|MS Viking Saga||1980–1986||Rederi Ab Sally||14,330 GRT||Burnt in 1990; rebuilt 1992. Since 2007 MS Cristal for Louis Cruise Lines.|
|MS Viking Sally||1980–1990||Rederi Ab Sally
Rederi AB Slite
|15,566 GRT||Sunk 1994 as MS Estonia|
|MS Viking Song||1980–1986||Rederi Ab Sally||13,878 GRT||Since 2010 MS Regina Baltica for Acciona Trasmediterránea|
|MS Olympia||1986–1993||Rederi AB Slite||37,799 GRT||Since 2011 MS Princessa Anastasia for St.Peter Line|
|MS Ålandsfärjan||1987–2008||SF Line/Viking Line||6,336 GRT||Since 2008 MS Expedition for G.A.P. Shipping|
|MS Athena||1989–1993||Rederi AB Slite||40,012 GRT||Since 2001 MS Pearl of Scandinavia for DFDS|
|MS Kalypso||1990–1994||Rederi AB Slite||40,012 GRT||Since 1994 MS Star Pisces for Star Cruises|
|HSC Condor 10
(marketed as Viking Express I)
|1995 (chartered)||Viking Line||3,241 GT||Since 2002 HSC Condor 10 Condor Ferries|
|MS Isabella||1989 - 2013||Viking Line||35,154 GT||Since 2013 MS Isabelle for the competitor Tallink|
Additionally a large number of ferries were chartered during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s for seasonal traffic.
Ordered but never delivered
|Planned/project name||Projected delivery||Ordered by||Tonnage||Notes||Fate|
|-||1962||Rederi Ab Vikinglinjen||2,268 GRT||Completed for Finnlines as MS Hansa Express, 1962||Scrapped 2003|
|MS Europa||1993||Rederi AB Slite||59,912 GT||Building project was almost complete when Rederi AB Slite went bankrupt. Was then completed for Silja Line as MS Silja Europa in 1993||In service for Tallink as of 2013|
|Viking ADCC||2009||Viking Line||15,600 GT||Building project cancelled by Viking Line due to the shipyard's inability to complete the ship on time||Hull remains incomplete at the shipyard since 2010. Future unknown|
- Viking Line Year-End Report 2012, retrieved 2012-04-07
- Viking Line: 40 Years of Ferry Service, retrieved 12. 10. 2007[dead link]
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 18–20. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 22–23. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Apollo (1964)". Archived from the original on 26 May 2012., retrieved 24 October 2007
- (Finnish) FCBS Forum: laivojen nimien alkuperä ja merkitys, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 26–27. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Marsk Stig (1940)". Archived from the original on 26 May 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 40–43. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Coromuel (1973)". Archived from the original on 31 July 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Puerto Vallarta (1974)". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Azteca (1975)". Archived from the original on 3 August 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 44–46. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 53–54. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Finnish) FCBS Forum: Matkustajalaivojen vaihtuminen matkustaja-autolautoiksi, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, pages 69–70. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Swedish) Eliasson, Thor-Alf: Viking Line i backspegeln, page 73. Mariehamns Tryckeri/Viking Line 2005. No ISBN code
- (Finnish) FCBS Forum: Sliten konkurssin syyt ja seuraukset + muuta 1980–90-l. taitteen Vikingistä, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Finnish) FCBS Forum: Gunnar Eklundin lähtö Vikinglinjenistä, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Europa (1993)". Archived from the original on 4 September 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Athena (1989)". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Kalypso (1990)". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- Viking Line: Chartered Vessels, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish) "Fakta om Fartyg: M/S Frans Suell (1992)". Archived from the original on 25 May 2012., retrieved 12 October 2007
- Malmberg, Thure; Stampehl, Marko (2007). Siljan viisi vuosikymmentä (in Finnish/English). Espoo: Frenckellin Kirjapaino Oy. pp. 168–169, 276, 285. ISBN 978-951-98405-7-4.
- "Pörssitiedote". Viking Line press release (in Finnish). Viking Line. 25 January 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- "Silja Linen myynti". Viking Line press release (in Finnish). Viking Line. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- Asklander, Micke. "M/S Viking XPRS (2008)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
- "M/S Rosella snart tillbaka i Roslagens skärgård: Viking Line ersätter M/S Ålandsfärjan med större fartyg" (PDF). Viking Line press release (in Swedish). Viking Line. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
- Viking Line press release: Viking Line orders new vessel, retrieved 12 October 2007
- (Swedish)Skeppsbyggnadskontrakt uppsagt, vikingline.fi, retrieved 2 February 2010
- Enkvist, Liisa (18 April 2009). "Mikael Backman tuo ruotsinlaivoille villejä ideoita Karibian risteilijöiltä" (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- "Viking Linen laivatilaus jo pitkällä" (in Finnish). Turun Sanomat. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- "Viking väljer varv i sommar" (in Swedish). Åbo Underrättelser. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- "Viking Line överväger gas som bränsle" (in Swedish). svenska.yle.fi. 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- Reinikainen, Kari (2009-06-22). "Wind and lng power Wartsila's cruise ferry design". Cruise Business Online. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
- Dahlblom, Patrick (2010-04-23). "Viking line vill ha besked före färjbeställning" (in Swedish). Nya Åland. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
- "Viking Line och varvet STX Finland Oy tecknat ett intentionsavtal,". Viking Line. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- "Viking Line orders new vessel,". Viking Line. 2010-12-22. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
- "Market Highlights Week Ending 05th July". Paul Mason's Thames Shipping. 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
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