Saturday, 28 April 2012

ShipPax Ferry Shipping Conference 2012

 A very brief break will be taken from Japan to show some images from the recent Ferry Shipping Conference, arranged by ShipPax and held aboard the MS Baltic Queen of Tallink, operating between Stockholm and Tallinn in Estonia. Baltic Queen is Tallink's flagship cruise ferry - and the operator had pulled out all of the stops to impress the many senior managers from the remainder of the ferry industry attending the conference. The entire event was a model of superb organisation and we all enjoyed superb hospitality, provided by Tallink and the Baltic Queen's excellent crew.

Dinner in Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food restaurant in Heathrow T5:

Boarding the plane to Stockholm:

Arlanda Express:

Vintage Tunnelbana train from T-Centralen to my hotel at Skanstull:

Vartahamnen the next morning with passengers disembarking Silja Serenade and Baltic Queen:

Conference check-in at the Tallink-Silja terminal:

The Baltic Queen:

Window-cleaning in progress:

Baltic Queen's conference areas:

The conference is declared open by organiser Bo-Lennart Thorbjornsson and host Enn Pant, CEO of Tallink:

The first panel session, featuring Pim de Lange of Stena Line, Pierre Mattei of Corsica Ferries, Anders Refsgaard of DFDS Seaways and Enn Pant of Tallink:

Luncheon break:

Shipping finance explained with a little help from Greek mythology by Hugo Modderman of DVB Bank:

(The other afternoon papers were so engrossing that I forgot to photograph them)

 Departure from Stockholm:

Passing the Baltic Queen's near-sister, the Galaxy:

ShipPax award winners:

One can even attend to business out on deck:

Pre-dinner drinks:


Cuban show in the nightclub - the band was terrific:

A bit later, in the disco:

Late-night off Mariehamn:

Tallinn the next morning:

Ro-ro freighter expert Jon Boyce explains market trends and emerging technologies:

Outside, meanwhile, the Star arrives from Helsinki:


Baltic Princess leaves for Helsinki:

A brief visit to Tallinn:

Estonian advertising on bus shelters:

Pneumatic dinosaur:

Superstar and Baltic Queen in Tallinn:

Norlandia and Translandia of Eckero line:

The afternoon conference session - featuring Ronny Kristiansen of Fiskerstrand Shipyard, Niels Hoff of Scandlines and Costas Stamboulelis of Attica Group (pictured) - was particularly fascinating. The theme was new ferry projects and new technologies:

And so to the final session, summing up the state of play and possible future directions. First to perform was  the irrepressible Bill Gibbons of the Passenger Shipping Association with Simon Johnson of P&O Ferries:

Then it was time for me:

Taking part in a Q&A session:

Simon inviting everyone to the Ferry Shipping Conference 2013 onboard the Pride of Rotterdam of P&O Ferries:

Bravo to Bo - and everyone at ShipPax:

The view from Baltic Queen in the Gulf of Finland:

The farewell gala dinner - a masterpiece on the part of the Baltic Queen's chefs and galley crew:

The great Robert Clifford of InCat, Tasmania, and his partner - my highly entertaining dining companions:

Main course being plated up - as fine steamed flounder as I've ever tasted:


Another evening of Cuban music:

Passing Oxdjupet the morning after with a local ferry in the foreground:

Viking Line's Gabriella, following in our wake:

Silja Europa approaches, outbound from Stockholm for Turku:

There's no finer way to travel:

Isabella, also bound for Turku:

Philippe Holthof, photographing:

Silja Serenade, ahead of us:

Back on terra firma in Stockholm:

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