A professional seafarer since 1994, Sõstra had been dreaming about going to sea since he was a little boy.
A little boy’s imagination took me to exotic faraway lands on distant shores. I’ve always been fond of swimming, and seen different boats and ships, so the sea is a very dear element for me.
I think I was 12 or 13 when I already knew that I’d become a sailor,
Sõstra reminisced. However, his father ensured that the boy stayed in school, all the way through high school. Then, it was time to study nautical science.
Dreams coming true
Vahur Sõstra was able to sail the seven seas on cargo ships for a total of four years. In 1998, long periods of time spent at sea, and exotic ports were replaced by passenger traffic between Tallinn and Stockholm, when he was employed by Estonian Shipping Company (ESCO).
From ESCO, I moved on to Estline, and I became very familiar with the Baltic Sea during those years. The ships were old, but they had a special atmosphere. I’m fine with ships of any age, Sõstra admitted.
Vahur started working for Tallink in 2001, when Tallink acquired his then-employer, Estline, who was experiencing economic difficulties.
Megastar is an example of cutting-edge technology of the shipbuilding industry. Nevertheless, Vahur isn’t particularly anxious about steering a new ship.
For example, when you compare a 1990s car to a new one, there’s not much difference. The same applies to ships: the basic controls of the ship function according to the same principles, even if the technology used in the steering equipment is completely new. For example, the navigation equipment is noticeably better.
This is the third ship Sõstra will be skippering. When you start using a new ship, does it feel and smell like a new car?
This isn’t my ship! You should ask the owners that question. But of course, I’m very proud to be skippering the Megastar, and it’s very inspiring to be able to steer a brand new ship.
Captains of the megastar category
It’s been eight years since Tallink acquired their previous new ship. Vahur has great expectations about the Megastar. A new ship denotes a certain professional pride, so is there any light-hearted mockery regarding other captains of Tallink vessels?
Yes, we were joking about it already when the Superstar arrived. The Star’s captains were just “stars”, while we were “superstars”.
It was just humour, we have to keep in mind that the Star and the Superstar were very young ships.
Honouring environmental values
The Megastar’s engines run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), the hull shape makes fewer waves, and the overall environmental load of the ship is significantly smaller. How important does the ship’s captain consider the environmental aspects to be for the Megastar?
I still love swimming, fishing and boating around the Baltic Sea. I think it’s great and very important that environmental issues have been taken into very serious consideration.