The first of Fjord Line’s two new cruise ferries was christened on Thursday at Bergen Group Fosen’s Rissa shipyard in Sør-Trøndelag county.
The ship’s godmother Janne Johnsen, mayor of Rogaland county, christened the new vessel MS Stavangerfjord. “Our finest dreams have come true,” said Fjord Line’s CEO Ingvald Fardal in a speech to hundreds of guests who joined the celebration.
For almost a year, all 500 permanent and contract staff at the Bergen Group Fosen shipyard have been engaged in fitting out and completing the MS Stavangerfjord and will now turn their attention to its sister ship, MS Bergensfjord. In his own speech, Shipyard Director Anders Straumsheim made no effort to hide the fact that the project had been more difficult than expected. “So that makes it even more gratifying to be able to deliver this elegant ship with new designs and environmentally-friendly LNG engines that will set the standard for similar projects to come,” Straumsheim said.
Great symbolic value for Norwegian shipbuilding
Johnsen, the ship’s godmother, also underscored the ship’s innovative propulsion systems, which she said would offer significant environmental benefits both at sea and when docked in the ports of Bergen, Stavanger and Langesund in Norway and Hirtshals in Denmark.
“The ship will have a high profile on the west coast and will thus, in many ways, have great symbolic value for the Norwegian shipbuilding industry,” said Johnsen.
Important to Norway’s tourism sector
Johnsen said the new ships give people in western and south-eastern Norway the chance to travel easily and comfortably to Denmark and the rest of the Continent.
“We also expect a sharp increase in the numbers of tourists arriving from Europe. So these beautiful, well-equipped cruise ferries will be of great importance to the Norwegian tourism industry. Fjord Line’s ships will also contribute to increased shipping of cargo by sea; something that will have significant environmental benefits. Hopefully, efforts to gain permission for Fjord Line to transport cargo between Stavanger and Bergen will also be successful,” said Johnsen, who then broke a bottle against the MS Stavangerfjord’s hull with the traditional blessing “May good fortune smile on her and all who sail in her.”
“A dream come true”
Fardal, Fjord Line’s CEO, told the guests that the christening of MS Stavangerfjord fulfils a dream shared by all of his staff.
“There are many who deserve a great vote of thanks for carrying out this amazing feat: Our owners who made these investments possible; our financial partners; our government that invested through the NOx Fund in environmentally sound technologies. We also thank everyone who helped with the design and planning of everything from technically important details to artistic decorations, not to mention the subcontractors and everyone at Bergen Group Fosen. They have all proven that high quality shipbuilding and outfitting is still alive and well in our country,” said Fardal.
Christening gift to Norwegian Sea Rescue
In keeping with tradition, the ship’s godmother was given a gift by the shipyard and the ship-owners. Johnsen said she would donate her 30,000 kroner gift to Norwegian Sea Rescue service.
Fjord Line, June 7, 2013