Specifically, the vessel, to be named Aurora Botnia, is scheduled for delivery to the operator, Wasaline, in spring 2021. The new ferry will operate in the shipping line between Vaasa in Finland and Umeå in Sweden. The construction of the vessel will have a substantial effect on employment, totalling around 800 person-years.
The shipyard's statement noted that the new block weights about 210 tonnes.
The Shipyard comments that
Laying down the keel is an important milestone in shipbuilding, and it’s often considered as the birth of the ship. Traditionally, lucky coins are placed under the keel. This time, the lucky coins were Swedish crowns and Finnish euros.
Moreover, the new ferry will be the first ever RoPax ferry with a Clean Design class notation. The vessel will have a hybrid power generation system, as well as an electric propulsion system rarely used in car and passenger ferries.
The ferry can be considered as the most environmentally friendly large RoPax ferry under construction at the moment.
The four main engines will run on both liquified natural gas and liquefied biogas. As a result, it is expected that emissions in the Kvarken region of the Gulf of Bothnia will decrease compared to the emissions from the vessel currently operating there.
The new car and passenger ferry was ordered by Kvarken Link, a company owned by the city of Vaasa and the municipality of Umeå (Umeå Kommunföretag AB). The ferry will accommodate 800 passengers and will have a freight capacity of 1,500 lane metres for cargo. The ferry will replace Wasa Express, which now operates between Vaasa and Umeå.
Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director of Wasaline added that
This vessel is the most environmentally friendly large RoPax ferry in the world, its degree of domestic origin is more than 80%, and it employs the most cutting-edge, environmentally friendly technology.
In early 2019, the US Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance published 'Determinations for a Vessel’s Keel Laid Date or Similar Stage of Construction' which established the interpretations of when a vessel’s keel is considered to be laid or the vessel is at a similar stage of construction.