A vintage ro-ro that has been serving in the Baltic for more than four decades will continue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, where top environmental standards are less of a priority with both regulators and consumers.
Finland’s Viking Line announced on Thursday it has agreed to sell the 16,879-gt Rosella (built 1980) to Greece’s Aegean Sealines Maritime at a price of €11.25m ($11.77m).
“The vessel’s service at Viking Line has come to an end,” the company said in a statement.
“While Rosella has been well-maintained and keeps good standards, it will not be able to meet Viking Line’s stringent requirements for minimum environmental performance, especially for carbon dioxide emissions, in the future.”
The vessel will sail under a Greek flag in the Aegean Sea.
No Greek ferry company is known under the name of Aegean Sealines Maritime.
But according to a report on Greek website newmoney.gr, Aegean Sealines is a reincarnation of Aegean Speed Lines — a company owned by the Eugenides family.
Aegean Speed Lines had sold its last ship, a high-speed ferry, in April. The company, however, had said at the time that it would start looking to reenter the business later in the year through the purchase of a conventional ro-ro ship, newmoney.gr reported.
Viking Line said on Thursday that it realised an accounting profit of €8.6m from the sale of the Rosella. The ship's service with the company will end on 8 January and it will be delivered to its new owners by the end of March.
The sale is part of Viking Line’s strategy to modernise its fleet. After parting with the Rosella, the company will examine alternative solutions to cover its short-distance routes between Sweden and Aland.
Environmental standards are laxer in Scandinavia than in the Mediterranean, where millions of islanders and tourists are relying on ferries for cheap transportation.
This is the reason why the European Union, of which both Greece and Finland are members, has been providing exemptions from environmental rules for ships servicing islands.
Such waivers will also be granted in the case of the EU Emissions Trading System, which is set to include most other commercial ships after 2024.
In August, Viking Line sold yet another older vessel to Mediterranean buyers.
France’s Corsica Ferries was the buyer of the 34,400-gt ropax Amorella (built 1988) for €19.1m. The ship has been trading as Mega Victoria since.