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Jussi Ovaskainen

Ship Reporter’s Path of Learning

At the end of 2015 I was selected for the position of the Tallink Silja Line's ship reporter. My duty was to write different stories about the process of building the new Megastar vessel. My professional history as a journalist includes radio producing as well as outdoor reporting. Which means that in reality the gist of what I knew was that sea is a magnificent element and that ships are really large.

For a couple of months now I have been visiting a number of skilled professionals in various areas of shipbuilding, and their expertise has truly amazed me. Here is a short list of reasons why this landlubber is so jazzed up about the new vessel.

  1. Passion. All people whom I have met are truly and sincerely proud of what they are doing. They are indeed doing something completely new, and this makes them put all their efforts into this endeavour.
  2. Game of Legos. To understand the full scope of shipbuilding I look at it through the Lego perspective. Building a ship is like a humongous 3D puzzle, which is put together by hundreds of people. First they make small parts, which are attached to other small parts. The small parts add up into larger parts, which are then attached to other larger parts. The parts grow larger and larger, and at last the hull of the vessel adopts its final shape. At the same time subcontractors are producing cabin elements, etc. An extremely complicated and well managed integrated project.
  3. Schedules. The vessels are completed according to the schedule. This is something that house builders could learn from.
  4. Minding the environment. Megastar is fuelled by LNG, emissions of which are just a fraction compared to those caused by traditional marine diesel. Moreover, a lot of attention is paid to the selection of materials and other use of energy. The hull of the vessel is innovative and reaches the required speed with clearly lower consumption of energy in comparison with her predecessors.
  5. Safety. No compromise on safety. At the shipyard I had to take a course on security before I was granted access to the territory for taking photos. Meyer applies the zero tolerance principle. Even the slightest of misbehaviour can end with being sent back home to think about what went wrong. Without pay. The vessel has a multitude of highly modern solutions improving passenger safety. On Megastar the safety mindset is taken to a completely new level.
  6. Smoothness. The experience offered by Megastar, along with the new Helsinki West Terminal 2 will be a completely new one. Everything is focused around making sure that passengers can move, stay and enjoy without hassle.

Now the ship standing at the shipyard is starting to transform from a pile of metal sheets into a proper vessel. This also means that images will be updated more actively, while images of experts in key areas hard at work at the construction site will be coming soon. They are all enthused professionals. They are making something quite new and unprecedented. On these pages one can follow the completion of Megastar all the way up to her maiden cruise.

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