MS Julia

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MS Julia arrving Cork.jpg
MS Julia arriving in Cork, September 2009.
Name: 1982—1990: Olau Britannia
1990—1991: Bayard
1991—2008: Christian IV
2008 onwards: Julia[1]
Owner: 1982—1990: Olau Line
1990: Fred. Olsen & Co.
1990—2008: Color Line
2008: Stella Lines
2008 onwards: Aktia Savings Bank[2]
Operator: 1982—1990: Olau Line
1990: Fred. Olsen & Co.
1990—2008: Color Line
2008: Stella Lines
2009: Fastnet Line
Port of registry: 1982—1990: Hamburg, 22x20px West Germany
1990: Oslo,  Norway
1990—2008: Kristiansand,  Norway
2008 onwards: Helsinki, 22x20px Finland[1]
Builder: Weser Seebeckswerft, Bremerhaven, West Germany[1]
Yard number: 1031[1]
Laid down: 1981-06-03[1]
Launched: 1981-12-05[1]
Christened: 1982-05-07 by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon[1]
Acquired: 1982-05-02[1]
In service: 1982-05-08[1]
Identification: IMO number: 8020642
Status: In service on the Cork - Swansea Route for Fastnet Line.
General characteristics [1]
Type: Cruiseferry
Tonnage: 15,064 GRT as built
21,699 GT (gross tonnage) after 2005 rebuild
2,880 metric tons deadweight (DWT)
Length: 153.40 m (503 ft 3 in)
Beam: 24.24 m (79 ft 6 in)
Draught: 5.80 m (19 ft 0 in)
Installed power: 4 × Pielstick 8PC2-5L 400 diesels
15,300 kW
Speed: 20 kn (37.04 km/h; 23.02 mph)
Capacity: 2048 passengers
938 berths (as built)
863 berths (after 2005 rebuild)
530 cars

MS Julia is a cruiseferry, owned by Fastnet Line, an Irish based ferry company which purchased her from a Finnish liquidator following the bankruptcy of the previous owners Stella Lines on 6 November 2008.


1982—1990: Olau Line

The Olau Britannia was delivered as the younger sister of MS Olau Hollandia on May 5, 1982. Two days later she was christened by Princess Margaret in Sheerness and placed on the route Sheerness—Vlissingen. In August 1984 the ship collided with the freighter MS Mont Louis in the English channel. Olau Line ordered larger replacements for the Olau Hollandia and Olau Britannia in the late 1980s (confusingly the replacements were also called MS Olau Hollandia and MS Olau Britannia. In preparation for delivery of the second Olau Britannia, the first Olau Britannia was sold to Nordström & Thulin, Sweden on October 4, 1989, to be delivered in 1990. However, already on October 11 Nordström & Thulin resold the ship to Fred. Olsen & Co..

1990—2008: Fred. Olsen Lines and Color Line

In May 1990 the ship was delivered to her new owners and renamed MS Bayard. After a refit at Blohm & Voss, Hamburg, Germany, the Bayard was set in on KristiansandHirtshals route in June 1990. For the winter season she was transferred to OsloHirtshals service. Fred. Olsen sold its Scandinavian ferry operations to Color Line in December 1990, and in January 1991 the Bayard was renamed MS Christian IV. The ship was kept on the Oslo — Hirtshals service until April 1994, when she returned to the Kristiansand — Hirtshals route. In March 1995 the ship temporarily sailed on the MossKiel route, after which she reverted back to her older route. The ship was refitted in 1999 at Fredericia Værft in Denmark, with additional restaurants and better conference facilities. She was refitted again in 2005, this time at Remontowa, Gdansk, Poland.[1][3] In March 2008 she was replaced by the new MS Superspeed 1 on the Kristiansand—Hirsthals route, and laid up at Sandefjord.[1][4] Between 2008-04-10 and 2008-06-15 the Christian IV sailed on the Larvik—Hirsthals route, replacing MS Peter Wessel – that had been sold to the Mediterranean Shipping Company – until the delivery of the new MS Superspeed 2.[1][5][6][7]

2008 onwards: Stella Lines

On 2008-05-20 the Christian IV was sold by Color Line to Stella Naves Russia (Stella Lines), a subsidiary of the Finnish freight shipping and stevedoring operator Stella Company Group, for 13 million.[1][7][8] The ship was delivered to her new owners in July 2008, and subsequently renamed Julia. On 2008-08-01 she entered service on Stella Lines' HelsinkiSt. Petersburg route.[1][9] Passenger numbers on the Julia were low due to the bureaucracy related to applying a visa in order to travel between Finland and Russia. Additionally due to restrictions imposed by the Port of Helsinki the Julia could not carry any freight on the service.[10] On 2008-09-20 the Russian State Duma approved a law change allowing passengers arriving by scheduled ferry services to visit Russia for up to 72 hours without a visa.

Despite this legislation change the Helsinki—St. Petersburg service of the Julia was terminated due slower than expected growth of the passenger numbers, failure to acquire additional funding due to the economic crisis of 2008 and larger than expected harbour expenses in St. Petersburg. On 9 October 2008 Stella Lines CEO Kari Juvas stated that the company would make the decisions about the future of the Julia within the next few days. According to Juvas the alternatives are selling the ship or utilizing the ship on a service between Kotka, Finland and Sillamäe, Estonia.[10][11][12] Juvas had stated that Stella was interested in operating a ship on the Kotka—Sillamäe route already in July 2007.[13] The Russia-based companies Morskoi Voksal and Inflot, alongside with the City of St. Petersburg planned on acquiring the share majority of Stella Lines and providing funding for recommencing service on the Helsinki—St. Petersburg route with the Julia. However, on 3 November 2008 it was reported that the City of St. Petersburg had withdrawn from the purchase. On the same date Kim Sjöblom of Stella Lines stated the company are looking for other funders allowing the service to be restarted.[14] These attempts failed and Stella Lines was declared bankrupt on 6 November 2008, with the ownership of the Julia passing to Stella's creditors Aktia Savings Bank.[2]

Reportedly several companies have expressed an interest in buying the Julia, but none have been able to raise the capital needed to buy her.[15] On 17 February 2009 it was reported that one of the potential buyers for the Julia is Irish shipowner Frank Allen, who had acquired a loan from a Finnish bank to purchase the ship for use on a service between Cork and Swansea under the brand of B&I Line, which would be re-established for this service.[16] A public auction to sell the Julia was held on 26 February 2009, but no bids were made.[17] In a second auction held on 12 March 2009 B&I Line made the highest bid of €6 million, but confusion surrounded the initial undertaking of €1.5 million to secure the ship and she remained unsold. No further auction was held, instead the bankrupt's estate negotiated directly with potential buyers. In addition to B&I Line, Greek Halkidon Shipping Corporation and two unnamed Finnish companies were reported to have shown interest in the ship.[18][19]

2009 onwards: Fastnet Line

MS Julia in Cork City

The West Cork Tourism Co-operative announced on 2 April 2009 that they were close to agreeing on a deal to buy the Julia. On the 7 April 2009 the West Cork Tourism co-operative shareholders, meeting in Skibbereen gave their overwhelming support to the deal and elected a Board of Directors with the power to conclude the deal with the Finnish liquidator. The co-operative is setting up the new ferry company to run the service which will be called Fastnet Line after the famous Fastnet Rock lighthouse off the West Cork coast.[20] The West Cork Tourism Co-operative announced on 5 May 2009 that they will launch the new ferry service on 1 March 2010 and they are going ahead with the purchase of the Julia.[21] Following a funding agreement with an unnamed Finnish bank, a preliminary sale agreement was signed between Fastnet Line and Julia's owners on 15 July 2009 for an undisclosed price. However, the deal was subject to ratification by the Finnish court of law as the offer made by Fastnet is reportedly less than the €13 million debt attached to the ship. The court decided to sell the Julia and this was announced on 15 September 2009 following discussions with the creditors of Stella Lines.

The West Cork Tourism Co-Op also announced on the 15th September that it had completed the purchase of the Julia through its wholly owned subsidiary Fastnet Line Ltd and that it was pressing ahead with its plans to start the service on 1 March 2010 between Cork and Swansea with the Julia.[22] After some required certification, the service began on 10 March 2010 with a sailing from Swansea to Ringaskiddy.[23]

On board


Vehicle capacity

MS Julia has the vehicle capacity of 440 cars plus 30 trailers and trucks. It can carry 1,860 passengers.

Bars and restaurants

MS Julia has wide variety of bars and restaurants.


The Julia has over 300 cabins. These range from 2-berths cabins to the West Cork suite.


  • Cinema
  • Children's play area
  • Shops
  • Tourist information desk
  • Casino
  • Pet kennels


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Asklander, Micke. "M/S Olau Britannia (1982)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Hopes high for new ferry". this is South 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  3. Boyle, Ian. "Olau Britannia". Simplon Postcards. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  4. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Superspeed 1 (2008)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  5. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Gotland (1981)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  6. Asklander, Micke. "M/S Superspeed 2 (2008)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Christian IV solgt til finske Stella" (in Norwegian). 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  8. "Autolauttaliikenne Helsingistä Pietariin alkaa kesällä" (in Finnish). Ilta-Sanomat. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  9. "Helsinki - St.Petersburg - Helsinki schedule 01.08.2008 - 31.12.2008" (in Finnish). Stella Lines. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ala-Kiiskilä, Antero (2008-10-10). "Stella Lines pohtii vaihtoehtoja" (in Finnish). Kymen Sanomat. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  11. Moilanen, Hellevi (2008-10-09). "Helsinki-Pietari-laivalinja sortui maailmantalouden epävakauteen" (in Finnish). Kymen Sanomat. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  12. "Autolautta Julian kohtalo selviää lähipäivinä" (in Finnish). Kymen Sanomat. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  13. Huovinen, Issu (2007-08-24). "Kotkan ja Viron välisessä liikenteessä olisi ison laivan reikä" (in Finnish). Kymen Sanomat. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  14. "Pietarin kaupunki vetäytyy Pietari-Helsinki-laivayhteydestä" (in Finnish). YLE Uutiset. Yleisradio. 2008-11-03. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  15. "M/S Julia pakkohuutokaupataan" (in Finnish). YLE. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  16. O'Riordan, Sean (2009-02-17). "Swansea ferry captain’s son plans to resurrect route". Irish Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  17. "Matkustaja-autolautta Juliaa ei huutanut kukaan" (in Finnish). Kymen Sanomat. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-03-11. 
  18. "Matkustaja-autolautta m/s Julian huutokauppa peruuntui" (in Finnish). YLE. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  19. Vaniala, Paavo (2009-03-15). "Julia kävi kaupaksi - mutta täppi puuttui" (in Finnish). Kaupunkilehti Ankkuri. p. 7. Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  20. Keogh, Jackie (2009-04-11). "Co-operative officially formed to restore Swansea-Cork ferry". The Southern Star. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  21. "Ferry relaunch delayed until 2010". 
  22. O’Riordan, Sean (15). "‘Dawn of new era’ as €7m Cork-Swansea ferry deal completed". Examiner Publications. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  23. BBC News - Swansea to Cork Ferry Setting Sail

External links

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[[Commons: Category:MS Julia

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de:Julia (Schiff) no:MS «Christian IV» nn:MS «Christian IV» ru:Паром Julia fi:M/S Julia