Launch of rapid GEV service on Tallinn-Helsinki route postponed unil 2018
Sea Wolf Express, which initially planned to launch passenger services on the Tallinn-Helsinki route this fall using a Russian-built ground effect vehicle (GEV), which makes the trip between the two capitals in approximately half an hour, has delayed the launch of the service until 2018 due to technical problems.
The launch of the service is being prevented by shortfalls revealed in the hydrodynamic characteristics of the vehicle's prototype during testing, Sea Wolf Express board member Tanel Jõeäär told BNS on Tuesday.
Specifically, the vehicle's too-wide wing section causes jolting when the vehicle ascends above the water level, which is not consistent with the manufacturer's requirements concerning comfort of travel.
"The hull has to be redesigned, and this is the reason for the delay," explained Jõeäär, adding that the company intends to launch the service in 2018. While reconstruction of the bigger vehicle is underway, Sea Wolf Express and its partner will test a smaller, two-seat vehicle in Helsinki this winter.
Jõeäär told BNS in February that the GEV to be ordered from Russian company RDC Aqualines is classified as a vessel and Sea Wolf Express planned to buy up to 15 such craft, the first of which it expected to put into service on the Tallinn-Helsinki route in September.
"Our initial plan is indeed to start offering passenger services between Tallinn and Helsinki in the fall," explained Jõeäär at the time. "The journey will take about 30 minutes and each craft will have a capacity of 12 passengers."