Ships Freight and passenger transportation
It goes without saying that an archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic has a certain maritime history to look back on, when it comes to transporting people and goods. From the reliable knarrs of the Viking Age, to today\’s containerships and ocean-going car ferries.
Over the centuries it was the sailing ships that kept the connection to and from the mainland. It goes without saying that the connection was not always very reliable – weather, war and epidemics could lead to a shortage of the most basic necessities. The situation became even more complicated by the fact that there for centuries was an authorized monopoly for navigation and commerce to and from the Faroe Islands.
It was only after the abolition of the mono-poly and the introduction of steam-powered vessels that the supply lines became reliable. Throughout the 20th century, different passenger and freight lines appeared on the Faroese route and the names of many of the ships can still evoke a nostalgic spark in Faroese eyes. DFDS steamer Dronning Alexandrine, commonly known as \”Drotningin\” (The Queen) – the more modern passenger ship Crown Prince Frederik, passenger- and car ferries Winston Churchill and England, from the same company, are all ships we remember with warm feelings.
A special status, however, have the four Faroese passenger ships called Tjaldur – run by the Faroese shipping company Skipafelagið Føroyar – which from 1925 to 1969 sailed on the route Copenhagen – Faroe Islands. The story of these iconic ships is a chapter of its own in Faroese maritime history – but that must wait for another time.
In 1982 a new chapter started in Faroese passenger and freighter history, when Smyril Line was founded. This new Faroese shipping company bought the Swedish ferry Gustav Wasa, built in 1973 in Rendsburg. After a refit in Flensburg to adapt to Atlantic conditions, the ferry, under the name Norröna, in June 1983 started to sail the route: Hanstholm (Denmark), Bergen (Norway), Tórshavn, (Faroe Islands) and Seyðisfjørður in Iceland. The Atlantic ferry had a capacity for 1050 passengers, 300 cars and a certain amount of goods.
The first years MS Norröna only sailed during the summer season in the North Atlantic and was used for other purposes during the winter season. Among other things, Norröna was used as transport vessel at NATO exercises in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Irish Sea – and three times, in the 80s and 90s, she was leased by Danish authori-ties as refugee ship in Copenhagen during the winter season.
In 1998 MS Norröna started to sail the Atlantic the whole year round – the first year only between Tórshavn and Hanstholm. The ship had gradually become obsolete though and the capacity too small for the increasing pressure of passengers, cars and freight.
In 1999, Smyril Line signed a contract with Flender Werft in Lübeck to build an even bigger ferry, this time specifically designed for sailing in the North Atlantic. The new Norröna was delivered on 7th April 2003 and three days later, on April the 10th she started to sail her Atlantic route.
The new Norröna is three times bigger than the old one. The ship is 164 meters long and 30 meters wide, 36,000 GRT and has a maximum speed of 21 knots. It can accommodate 1,482 passengers and has room for 800 cars. In addition to car transport it is also used for goods and trailer transport.
In 2012 Smyril Line moved its Danish departure from Hanstholm to Hirtshals where Norröna has sailed from ever since.
Passenger comfort on Norröna is luxurious and outstanding. The ship was in 2012 named one of the top three passenger carriers by the Danish Travel Award. Now, almost 50 years after the old \”Queen\” ploughed through our rough waters on coal and steam, our own Norröna goes into her second decade as the undisputed queen of the North Atlantic.
Technical Details Issue Date: 17.02.2014 Printer: LM Group, Canada Process: Offset Colours: 4 Colours Size: 34.0 x 45.0 mm