Newsletter October 2016 - Meriaura 30 years
Risto Isomäki

Science writer Risto Isomäki greets 30 year old Meriaura

Five years ago, at Meriaura’s 25 years celebrations, Jussi Mälkiä publicly donated me a Meriaura-life vest and said that I had probably been Meriaura’s first customer ever. I had apparently gathered the group for the very first cruise made on tugboat Aura, which could (in a sense) be considered as the starting point of Meriaura’s business activities. Retrospectively thinking, running chartered cruises on that particular tugboat has probably been the worst business idea Jussi has ever invented. Yet ‘Aura’ had certainly proven to be the most seaworthy of its class, it was built for the invasion of Normandy, and all other ships of the same category had capsized and sunk. Aura was still sailing, thanks to the extra iron that was welded on its bottom.

However, I am happy and proud that I have also later had the opportunity to continue cooperation with Meriaura, especially through the Atmosmare Foundation. In my opinion some projects Meriaura has participated, may have a large global significance in the long run, larger than it has been understood so far, at least in Finland.
Meriaura and some of its close partners have participated in a significant way in the transport and installation of offshore wind farms, and also contributed to the development of marine technology used in maintenance and laying cables. Meriaura has been involved in installing more than 3 000 MW of offshore windpower. Globally there are only a handful of companies with so extensive experience within this area.

The new drycargo vessel type, VG EcoCoaster, designed for slow steaming, is probably still the most important project of Meriaura Group through its history. Ships can always reduce their fuel consumption by slowing speed, but when a ship is originally designed for lower speeds, saving is clearly higher. At the moment shipping accounts only under 4 percent of the human CO2 emissions, but with the current growth rate, the carbon emissions from shipping may double or triple during the next 50 years. Fuel-efficient ship prototype consuming 50 or 70 per cent less, and capable of using low-carbon, carbon-neutral or carbon-negatively produced bio-oil instead of fossil fuel, is a very important project in the fight against climate change.

VG EcoCoaster is important for also another reason, which happens to be particularly close to my heart. We are lucky to live on this little planet at the same time with sperm whales and large baleen whales swimming in our oceans. The other side of this is that these spectacular creatures are in danger of disappearing completely from the planet because of human action. Some large whale species are making a comeback, but two large baleen whale species, North Atlantic right whale and North Pacific right whale, are in danger of becoming extinct during the next few decades. The fate of both species may depend on how fast the future cargo and passenger ships are moving. It seems that collisions with fast ships have already become the most important single cause of death for adult right, sperm, blue, fin and humpback whales. If VG EcoCoaster is able to prove that it is economically viable to design ships for slower speeds, one by-product may be saving the biggest creatures that have developed on earth over its 4.6 billion-year history.

I want to congratulate Meriaura Group for the past 30 years and wish the best success also in the future!

Risto Isomäki
Science writer and environmental activist

Meriaura 30

Meriaura 30 years celebrations

Meriaura Group’s journey began 30 years ago in 1986. We celebrated our birthday with many clients and other partners on the 2nd of September in Turku. The party was held at Sigyn Hall by the Aura river, that is exactly the place where the company was founded 30 years ago.

More pictures and the movie and musicvideo shown at the festivites can be found here.


First EcoCoaster delivered to Meriaura

Meriaura has received the first one of the two VG EcoCoaster newbuildings ordered from Royal Bodewes. M/V ‘Eeva VG’ arrived for the first time in Finland, and was baptised on October 5 in the port of Rauma, where the vessel loaded her first cargo, 4000 tons of oats of Hankkija, for Rotterdam. M/V Eeva VG is 103 meters long and 13.6 meters wide, 5000 ton dry cargo ship with iceclass 1A.  "Although the vessels are traditional dry cargo bulkers, they represent a new generation because of their environmental friendliness and energy efficiency," says Beppe Rosin, Vice Managing Director of Meriaura.

VG EcoCoaster is a new ship concept developed by Meriaura Group in cooperation with Foreship and Aker Arctic Technology. VG EcoCoaster is designed to cause considerably less environmental impact than conventional dry cargo vessels of same type and size. The hull and machinery are optimized to the speed of 10,5 knots in open water conditions. Additional power required for fullfilling Ice Class 1A requirements is achieved by a diesel electric driven booster unit. The ambition is to almost halve the fuel consumption compared to conventional dry cargo vessels of similar type and size, and therefore also cut emissions remarkably. The vessels are equipped with a dual fuel system, where the main engine is suitable for both biofuel and MGO. When run on biofuel the vessel is causing close to zero emission of carbon, sulfur and nitrogen. The biofuel for the vessels, VG Marine EcoFuel, is produced in VG-Shipping’s (part of Meriaura group) own refinery located in Uusikaupunki. The sea trials with biofuel were carried out successfully.

Besides fuel economy and minimizing emissions, environmental issues have been taken into account in all possible ways. The new vessels will meet all the maritime environmental regulations coming into force in next few years, and in many cases will even exceed them. The ships are equipped with ballast water treatment system, heat recovery from central heating and air conditioning and system for cargo hold washing waters. Only energy efficient LED’s are used for lighting. The hull is painted with environmentally friendly and energy efficiency improving Ecospeed-paint.


Aibel and Meriaura kick off the first Johan Sverdrup transportations

Earlier this year, Meriaura was awarded the transport contract by Aibel AS. The contract includes several transportations of the DSM (Drilling Support Module) sections from Poland to Norway, being part of the development of Johan Sverdrup Drilling platform project. All shipments are expected to be completed by the end of February 2017. The first shipments for Johan Sverdrup project have been completed successfully. Our open deck carrier m/v Meri loaded the first DSM sections from Gdynia, which were delivered to Aibel’s yard in Haugesund for final assembly. Johan Sverdrup oil field is one of the biggest fields on the Norwegian continental shelf. The project is a joint development by Statoil, Lundin Norway, Petoro, Det norske oljeselskap and Maersk Oil. Aibel is delivering the drilling platform for the Johan Sverdrup field. The assignment comprises engineering, procurement and construction.

Meriaura Group
Linnankatu 88, 20100 Turku, Finland
tel. +358 2 2111 600