A cruise ship under construction at the Turku shipyard in NovemberSTX Finland has told Scandlines, a German-Danish ferry operator, that it is unable to deliver the order for two double-ended passenger ferries due to lack of funds. Scandlines has consequently offered the order to S+P Werften, a shipbuilding company based in Stralsund, Germany.

“We hope to be able to sign the order as soon as possible,” Anette Ustrup Svendsen, the communications manager at Scandlines, says to Helsingin Sanomat.

In July, Scandlines and STX Finland put pen on a letter of intent for building two ferries for the route between Rostock, Germany, and Gedser, Denmark. The order was scheduled for delivery by the spring of 2015.

While Ustrup Svendsen refuses to reveal the value of the order, reports in the media have suggested that the order is worth roughly 500 million euros and would have created some 1,000 jobs at the Turku shipyard and its sub-contractors.

STX Finland revealed in November that it was yet to secure the funds required for the shipbuilding effort. Deputy CEO Jari Anttila asserted then that the shipbuilding company will continue to look at other funding options, despite deciding to temporarily suspend preparations for the project. Similarly in November, the frustrated Scandlines began its search for an alternative supplier.

Sources close to the Finnish Government reveal to Helsingin Sanomat that the ferry order has not been discussed specifically by the Government. Although the order would have been significant for Turku, the Government decided to wait for STX, the South Korean parent company of STX Finland, to alleviate the financial woes of its subsidiary.

The situation of the Finnish shipbuilding company has deteriorated for some time now. Last spring, it barely managed to hold on to an order for two cruise ships from Germany's TUI Cruises, courtesy of a financing package scraped together by the state, the specialised financing company Finnvera, STX, TUI Cruises and the City of Turku.

Recently, STX Finland also lost out on the Finnish Transport Agency's order for an icebreaker due to banks' unwillingness to issue the necessary guarantees. The vessel will instead be built by Arctech Helsinki Shipyard.

Teija Sutinen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Lehti / Lehtikuva