The production of the first of the two luxury expedition cruise ships ordered from Helsinki Shipyard Oy started on April 27, 2020. Steel-cutting began as scheduled and in safe conditions despite the ongoing global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch (shipbuilder's CEO), the two passenger vessels (SH Minerva and SH tbn) are the first newbuilds of the shipyard (established in May 2019), thus the project is very important as a head start for the shipbuilding company. Both luxury ships were ordered in summer 2019 from the Helsinki Shipyard are intended to operate in the Russian Arctic and Antarctica during winter and summer, as well as in tropical destinations during spring and autumn.
The vessels' steel blocks are manufactured by Western Baltija Shipbuilding (in Klaipeda Lithuania). The total 33 outfitted and painted blocks are prefabricated and assembled in Klaipeda and transported (barged) to Helsinki Finland by sea.
Image: Port of Helsinki (Finland)
The production at Helsinki Shipyard is scheduled to start in August 2020, and the hull construction is planned to start (with keel-laying ceremony) in September 2020. The vessel design is based on LOA length 113 m (371 ft), cruising speed 14 knots (26 kph / 16 mph) and max passenger capacity 157.
The shipowner is Vodohod - 2004-founded company (currently Russia’s largest river cruise line) and a fully-owned subsidiary of "Volga Shipping Company". Vodohod has headquarters in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. To its fleet were added all vessels of the company "Volga Flot Tour" - to a total of 50+ ships. Vodohod's operational regions include the rivers Volga, Don, Kama, Moscow's canals, Volga-Don Canal, Volga-Baltic Waterway, the lakes Onega and Ladoga.
Vodohod's new ships are scheduled for deliveries in 2021 and 2022.