The JARL is not dead, long live the JARL!
By Kalle Id
The BIRGER JARL arriving in Stockholm on a February afternoon. Photo © Kalle Id 2011.
Last April, I reported in my first story on MaritimeMatters about the uncertain fate of the Swedish pocket liner/cruise ship BIRGER JARL (built 1953), which had been sailing under a special SOLAS exemption since October 2010. In April she received a partial refit which at the time I reported would allow her to continue sailing. However, it turned out this was another exemption, this time lasting until August 15, 2011, to give her owners Ånedin Linjen evaluate their options. Many – myself included – presumed the BIRGER JARL would be replaced by a newer ship, with the 1973-built Tallink-owned classic ferry VANA TALLINN (ex-DANA REGINA, NORD ESTONIA, THOR HEYERDAHL) considered by many as the prime candidate.
Now it turns out the BIRGER JARL will not be retired or replaced. Instead, following the termination of her current last scheduled cruise on August 15 she will drydocked for a month and given a multi-million-krona refit to bring her up to current fire safety regulations while maintaining her original wooden interior fittings. If all goes to plan, the JARL will return to service in mid-September and will hopefully continue cruising for many years to come.
For more images of ferries and cruise ships in Helsinki, please visit kships.blogspot.com
Kalle Id, MaritimeMatters' Helsinki correspondent, is a Finnish maritime historian, photographer and journalist, with a Master's Degree in history from the University of Helsinki. His early-age exposure to ferry travel led to a lifetime fascination with passenger ships, both the cruise ferries of his home waters and the cruise ships and ferries of further afield. Kalle maintains his own ship photography blog at kships.blogspot.com. Contrary to the popular belief, he writes under his real name.
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