Helsinki Shipyard has delivered the Minerva, the first of the three Vega-class ships under construction for Swan Hellenic. On Dec. 3, the Minerva left Helsinki towards Ushuaia, from where the vessel’s operations will soon begin.
According to a press release, the Minerva headed to the sea trials shortly after the naming ceremony on Nov. 23. The trials showed that the polar expedition vessel complies with what has been agreed with the customer and that it meets the international criteria, which are inspected and approved by the classification society.
“Sea trials went according to the plan and completed within demanding schedule,” Helsinki Shipyard said. “The performance and the quality of the ship were proven to be good and in accordance with the agreed measurements.”
Installation and commissioning works continued in the pier at the shipyard and the delivery readiness was reached on Friday, Dec. 3. The project has not been “easy,” Helsinki Shipyard said, due to the pandemic and related logistic challenges.
“Despite these obstacles, the vessel has been completed after only 26 months from the signing of the contract which is a remarkable achievement. The elegant new ship sailed through the Kiel Canal on Dec. 6,” the shipyard wrote.
The new purpose-designed ship is the first in a series of three “next-generation” polar expedition vessels, all designed for worldwide cruising with a strong focus on high-latitude areas. The Minerva features a 5-megawatt diesel-electric propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and a PC5 ice-strengthened hull with extra-large stabilizers for exceptional passenger comfort. At 113 meters, the 10,500-ton vessel has been specially designed to explore the most inspiring and inaccessible places on the planet.
Providing accommodation for 152 guests in 76 spacious cabins and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, the Minerva is operated by an onboard team of 120.
“Today we all celebrate SH Minerva’s delivery to the customer. This is a proud day for us all. The vessel is even more beautiful and elegant than we dared to hope! We wish fair winds and following seas for the Minerva and her crew, with special thanks to everyone involved in the project for their uncompromising approach and great persistence at the end of the project!”, commented Jonas Packalén, project manager of the newbuild.
Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito added: “I, too, would like to congratulate everyone at Helsinki for their superb work in creating this wonderful new ship. We are delighted with the quality of their work, underlined by the superb performance the Minerva achieved in her sea trials. With Swan Hellenic now a unique presence on the waves again, we very much look forward to taking our guests to see what others don’t, exploring the Antarctic in exceptional comfort and style.”
The Minerva will be followed by her sister ship, the SH Vega, and another slightly larger newbuild, which are both already under construction at Helsinki Shipyard.