Estonian shipping line Tallink Grupp has signed a long-term deal with an Irish transport company, likely to service routes between Ireland and the United Kingdom, using its MS Star shuttle vessel. The Star had worked the Tallinn-Helsinki route for 15 years, while newer shuttle vessels have entered service during that time.
Commenting on the agreement, Tallink Grupp's CEO, Paavo Nõgene, said: "We have been looking for alternative work for our vessel Star for some time now, and the search became more focused as the arrival of our new shuttle MyStar drew closer last year.
"There has been great interest in chartering her over the years and I am pleased we have secured a good agreement for her now with Irish Continental Group plc. This type of alternative work for our vessels has been and continues to be a good solution, strengthening our company and bolstering income following a long crisis period," Nõgene went on, via a press release.
The initial charter term is for 20 months, with the option of extending by 2+2 years, along with a purchase option.
The agreement is termed a "bareboat charter", meaning that Tallink does not provide a crew.
The MS Star was launched on the Tallinn-Helsinki route in 2007 and continuously plied that route from then on.
Since then, the Star has been joined by the Superstar, Megastar and, most recently, MyStar shuttles.
Since the latter entered service late last year, the Star has operated a "shuttle light" service, meaning reduced daily departures and slightly scaled-down on-board services.
The Star's last trip on the Tallinn-Helsinki route will take place May 1, an evening departure from the Finnish capital, Tallink says, while those who have purchased tickets for the ferry thereafter will be offered alternative options on other vessels.
The Star is chartered to Irish Continental Group plc from May 5.
Editor: Andrew Whyte