On 30th May the 36,249gt/2007-built cruise ferry Oscar Wilde took over the Pembroke-Rosslare service for Irish Ferries, replacing the chartered 29,858gt/2000-built Blue Star 1 of Blue Star Ferries, Greece. The Oscar Wilde was built by Aker Finnyards Helsinki (later STX Finland Oy) as Yard No. 1356, delivered 10th April 2007. She was ordered by the AS Tallink Grupp and entered service as a game-changer on the Tallinn-Helsinki service, introducing the Shuttle Ferry era. The route went from strength to strength and the Star operated with the 36,299gt/2008-built Superstar (now the Pascal Lota of Corsica Ferries) and then the 49,134gt/2017-built Megastar, which replaced the Superstar. On 7th December 2022 a new chapter on the route began when the 50,629gt/2022-built and LNG powered MyStar was delivered to serve alongside the Megastar. The Star was retained for relief/supplementary sailings, but it was clear that she would find a new home sooner rather than later, and she did just that, on the Irish Sea.

The state-of-the-art MyStar, like the Megastar, was built in Finland as Yard No. NB603 at Rauma Marine Construction. This facility was once part of the Aker Finnyards/STX Finland Group. Rauma Marine Construction was founded in 2014 in Rauma after the failure of the STX Finland Group and, at the time of writing, had an order book with a value of €1 billion and 6 vessels under construction. The Tallinn registered MyStar is the subject of this feature and was ordered on 27th March 2019 at a cost of €250 million, the keel laying took place on 18th September 2020 followed by the launch in August 2021 with delivery in December 2022 as mentioned before.


The ferry company Tallink is an Estonian shipping company (part of the Tallink Grupp) and operates cruiseferry services on the Baltic Sea from Estonia to Finland/Sweden and Finland-Sweden. The company is the largest passenger and cargo shipping company in the Baltic region and also owns the Silja Line brand. The company’s history can be traced back to 1965 when the Estonian Shipping Company (ESCO, then a Soviet Union company) introduced a ferry service between Helsinki and Tallinn. Year-round services followed in 1968. In May 1989, ESCO formed Tallink with Palkkiyhtymä Oy. of Finland as a partner. A hydrofoil service was also operated for a time from Tallinn, followed by a catamaran service in 1997. Various secondhand tonnage was employed with the sister ships Romantika (40,803gt/built 2002) and Victoria I (40,975gt/built 2004) being Tallink’s first newbuilds. EstLine’s Tallinn-Stockholm began operating as part of Tallink in 2001 and the HSC Tallink AutoExpress 2 was also acquired that year. In 2002, the then AS Hansatee changed its name to AS Tallink Grupp just before the Romantika was delivered for Helsinki-Tallinn. In 2004, a trio of newbuilds joined the fleet, namely HSC Tallink AutoExpress 3, HSC Tallink AutoExpress 4 and the Victoria I (for Tallinn-Stockholm). In 2005 Tallink ordered the 48,915gt/2006-built Galaxy plus other tonnage before purchasing the Baltic Sea operations of Superfast Ferries from Attica Group in 2006 and later Silja Line. The 36,249gt/2007-built Star then revolutionised the Helsinki-Tallinn service and 48,915gt/2008-built Baltic Princess joined the fleet the following year along with the Superstar from Fincantieri. The AutoExpress 2, AutoExpress 3 and AutoExpress 4 were also withdrawn, ending the company’s fast ferry involvement. The 48,915/2009-built Baltic Queen then joined the ranks for the Tallinn-Mariehamn-Stockholm service. The Superfast vessels were chartered out to Marine Atlantic and Stena Line, never to return. The company has excelled but the pandemic did affect the overall operation if its network. Supplementary income has been secured from chartering out the Star (Irish Ferries) and Romantika (Holland-Norway Lines) along with accommodation work of the fleet.

Spacious Shuttle

The Tallinn-Helsinki Shuttle Ferry service operates 07.30-22.30 with each of the two ships making 3 round trips per day with a crossing time of 2 hours for the 48 nautical mile route. The Megastar has also offered a 22.30 overnight departure from Tallinn that arrives 06.00. The MyStar joined the Megastar on the route when she undertook her maiden voyage on 3rd December 2022 at 13.30 from Tallinn to Helsinki. The ship had been officially christened and launched on 12th August 2021 in Rauma Shipyard, with the Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid as the ships’ godmother. The MyStar is a near sister of the Meyer Turku-built Megastar, but with refinements made following the former ship’s operation. Interestingly, the Megastar represented a totally new Ro-Pax design for the service, with a double-deck drive-through loading arrangement. The Star was built as a single deck loader but with the ability to be converted, which she was in 2017, as well as an all-MES solution for the evacuation system as the route is exempt from traditional lifeboat requirements. Such a revolutionary option potentially jeopardises the resale value so, very wisely, Tallink future-proofed both the Megastar and MyStar to allow for the later installation of traditional lifeboats. The latter ship also has two Palfinger Marine FRSQ 630G fast rescue boats. The LNG/diesel-electric propulsion introduced with the Megastar has followed on for the MyStar, but the engines this time are 5 identical MAN 8L51/60 DF engines, each with an output of 8,400kW at 500rpm, rather than a 3+2 father and son arrangement in terms of engine size/output.

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