One of the other boats I’m paying attention to that’s stuck in the Suez debacle and has decided to wait it out is THIS one:
I know, I know, I can hear you saying “What the fuck, Liv. That’s not a ship, that’s an attachment for my vacuum cleaner that lets me suck up dirt out of hard-to-reach crevices.”
Nah man, hear me out! It’s a boat I promise!
This is the FJORD FSTR, and it is currently anchored amidst the ships nearest the canal entrance in the Red Sea, waiting for the clusterfuck to unfuck itself:
Now, much like you probably do, when I first happened to click upon the VesselFinder profile of this vessel and saw that photo, I had some serious questions. Namely, uh:
what is that for, and uh,
why does it look like no boat in the history of boats has ever looked before?
it says it’s a passenger ship and it looks HUGE, are there hundreds of disgruntled passengers stuck on there???
Scrolling through the specs on FJORD FSTR’s profile for the beginnings of answers, one SUPER interesting thing immediately jumped out at me:
WELL. Now that deserves some googling.
(Aside: hehe, “year of built”)
Anyway. Google was super helpful and immediately eager to fill me in about this ship, and inform me that she is:
a fancy-ass catamaran-style car and passenger ferry,
destined to operate across the strait between Denmark and Norway (“between Kristiansand and Hirtshals”, to be specific),
equipped to hold 1200 passengers and MANY cars,
capable of a top speed of 70km/h (!!!)
totally brand spanking new.
I’ll take “the company that ordered her literally only took possession from the shipyard on February 26th” for five hundred Alex!
Turns out there ARE no passengers on this ferry yet, because it hasn’t even reached its actual operating location yet!
After being launched at the shipyard in the Philippines last month, it has been picked up by employees of the operating company (Fjord Line) who have been taking it home from the store the only way you can, with a 109m long massive floating lego block: by driving it there, empty and shiny and with the dust covers probably still on the instrument dials, in what was expected to be about a 4 week trip with an April 1st arrival.
Now, obviously from the Philippines to Denmark is a looooooong trip. It’s been a long trip so far just to get to the Suez Canal, an approximate route shown here in blue, and I’m sure both the crew and the ferry company paying by the hour for them to sail the shiny new toy home would much prefer that the rest of the trip be the much shorter Mediterranean route in pink, rather than going the looong way around Africa. But boy oh boy is there something funny about them going so far, after nearly a month at sea, only to end up stuck in traffic just a week or so of sailing away:
(I have no idea if they would or wouldn’t cut through the English Channel, but I didn’t feel like trying to draw it while not putting a line through Kent or whatever)
No wonder they’re willing to wait around in line and gamble that the canal will be cleared sooner rather than later! Especially when you consider that they already sold off the ferry it’s supposed to be replacing lol.
But wait, there’s more!
I may have lied, a little bit, earlier, when I said that there were no passengers on the FJORD FSTR during this delivery voyage. That is, strictly speaking, only half true.
While nobody has paid to take part in this voyage so far, there are some additional folks onboard who are not crew, but are being paid to be there:
Oh yeah, you read that right.
In addition to the 11 Fjord Line crew members operating the ship, for their passage through the particular bunch of waters they have currently been (unexpectedly) spending a week sat in, FJORD FSTR has embarked an unspecified number of persons who make up a “specially trained safety team”.
All this in the interest of deterring any potential pirates who (in the minds of these Danes) might look at this gargantuan floating slide whistle and start rubbing their hands together eagerly — or whatever paranoid Scandinavian ferry owners imagine tempted pirates might do. (Why desperate people like the Somali pirates would go after the big red empty Borg Cube when there are literal dozens of loaded-full cargo ships anchored as far as the eye can see nearby, is beyond me, but who am I to question rich Scandinavians lmao.)
So like, next time you’re having a weird week, try asking yourself:
“But am I having a weirder week than 11 sailors trapped indefinitely on a massive empty ocean-going luxury vape pen, with a team of hired guards, in the middle of the Red Sea during a crisis, hoping desperately against all clues to the contrary that they’re not about to live out the catalyzing incident of a Bond film?”
Odds are, probably not.
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