Newsletter October 2018

A thrilling autumn at Meriaura Group!

We are getting stronger both at sea and ashore.  Our new T/C-vessel AIRISTO joined the fleet recently. She is the first one in the bigger segment, 8000-tonners, which we wish to establish for long-term business. In addition to this, we are very pleased to announce that VG-Shipping Ltd has acquired two vessels, which will be named AAVA VG and LOTTA VG.  Both vessels are sisters to our MARTTA VG, which has been sailing with us already for three years. She has proven to be a reliable vessel with a good intake and eco friendly fuel consumption. We expect her two sisters to follow suit, and serve our customers in an efficient manner. 

The changes are in line with Meriaura Group strategy.  We aim to increase the size of the fleet with acquisitions and long-term T/C –arrangements. With these vessels, the Meriaura fleet will expand to 81’000 dwt, and the number of ships will increase to 20. It is our goal to strengthen further our presence in the smaller tonnage, where we have a substantial market share in the Baltics.  We will continue serving the customers especially in the sectors of agribulk, circular economy and bioproducts.  Moreover, we are constantly looking for suitable tonnage to join the bigger bulk segments. The common denominator for all ships is the eco-friendliness:  good cube/dwt ratio, low fuel consumption, and efficient operational characteristics. 

In addition to new ships, we have also gotten some fresh blood in the office.  Since our latest newsletter, new specialists have entered chartering, ship management, crewing and agency teams. It has been a pleasure to see so many competent and enthusiastic employees joining the company. As we all know, shipping is not only about steel, but very much about communication and cooperation both inside the company as well as with customers and stakeholders outside the company.

Our customers have rewarded our good work with CoA renewals and repeating fixtures. Also on the ship management side we enjoy long-term cooperation with existing customers.  We are very grateful for the contract renewals, and will do our best to keep our customers satisfied.  Quality is a never-ending journey – and like all travels, this journey, too, is most enjoyable in good company!

Elisa Mikkolainen

Managing Director


Meriaura Group acquires two 4100 DWT vessels

VG-Shipping Ltd. is growing its fleet by acquiring two 4100 DWT dry cargo vessels. The 1997 and 1998 built vessels are sisters of M/S Martta VG. The ships are 89.8 meters long, 13.6 meters wide, 1A ice classed, low-consumption ships, that are suitable for shipments in the Baltic Sea and North Sea. Both vessels fly their existing flag, Cyprus.

After the acquisition VG-Shipping owns 8 cargo ships with a total load capacity of 39.000 dwt tonnes. The whole Meriaura fleet, including the time chartered vessels, consists of 20 vessels with a total cargo capacity of 81.000 dwt.

The first vessel, named M/S Aava VG (ex. Nemuna), was delivered to VG-Shipping on October 12th in Antwerp. After discharging her first cargo in Kotka, she will continue to dry dock in Tallinn. The sister ship, M/S Lotta VG (ex Visurgis) will be handed over to her new owner in the coming weeks. The names of the vessels originate from the families of VG-Shipping's shareholders. Aava VG's god parent is the 11-year-old daughter of Ville Koskinen, director of ship management and a shareholder of VG-Shipping. The name Lotta VG, in turn, respects the memory of the daughter of Tom Lindroos, a long-term captain and a shareholder of VG-Shipping.


Renovated Aranda proved functional

VG-Shipping managed R/V Aranda’s first monitoring cruise after its renovation was a succes. “The renovated Aranda proved functional, and the modifications allow us to make even more efficient use of the vessel. Aranda is now fit for unrestricted international voyages, and it can be used in all kinds of weather conditions in the Baltic Sea”, explains the Finnish Environment Institute’s Director-General Lea Kauppi. The vessel satisfies the requirements of modern marine research, its ecological impacts have been substantially reduced, and Aranda now provides an even safer working environment. Read more on SYKE’s press release


Officers meetings at VG-Shipping

VG-Shipping arranges two officers meetings in Turku in October. The first set of masters and chief engineers spent a day together in early October, and the second set will meet at the end of the month. The agenda includes presentations from guest speakers representing customers and insurance specialists. The topics of internal speeches include quality matters, company strategy, future prospects, updates on technical maintenance, crewing and procurement procedures. And obviously, getting together gives a chance for feedback, discussions, new ideas, and some fun as well.


M/S Eeva VG in ice tests in brash ice channel on Bay of Bothnia

Aker Arctic, the Finnish specialist for designing ice-going vessels, is leading a research project with the aim to ensure that brash ice model tests in all model testing facilities correspond with reality. Meriaura’s Eeva VG was the vessel used for the tests in brash ice channel in Kemi in Bay of Bothnia.

“The aim of the project is to test three different ways of modelling brash ice and to compare the behaviour to full scale, using the same vessel. The most reliable modelling method will then be adopted for future use. The ultimate goal is that model tests would correspond to real life in the best manner in order to give ship designers reliable guidelines for building safe vessels that correctly fulfil the ice class requirements,” tells Research Engineer Riikka Matala from Aker Arctic.

She praises the help and assistance received from Meriaura and the crew of Eeva VG last spring in Kemi. From the ship’s side it was exciting to follow the work of the researchers. “It was a great opportunity to take part in this interesting test”, says Thord Vaenerberg, Master of Eeva VG. 

After the tests in the real ice channel, model tests were carried out with the same vessel model to see how well the tests correspond with reality. The tests were performed in three different ice-channels in the Aker Arctic’s laboratory’s ice basin.

The test results will be reported later by Aker Arctic. Read the whole article of the tests in Aker Arctic Newsletter Arctic Passion News


A brash ice channel is filled with ice blocks which pile up towards the edges and is thinner in the middle. It is kept unconsolidated during winter time by icebreakers and daily vessel traffic, but the surface ice blocks may at times freeze to form a thick, consolidated layer. The floating ice layer is thick enough to walk on, even when unfrozen, as during the test.


Introducing our staff: Operations Superintendent Mathias Landor, 30 

Tell shortly of your study and work background before starting at Meriaura office?

I have graduated with a Bachelors degree in Marine Technology (Merikapteeni) from Novia University of Applied Sciences. During my studies I was an exchange student in Germany where I studied Nautical Science, but i also studied several courses in Maritime Economics. I became interested in shipping economics, so I started studying a Master of Science degree in Maritime Management in Germany one year after my graduation from Novia UAE.

I started my career at sea during my studies, different positions on different vessel types, and when graduating I was working as an officer on a small general cargo vessel.

My first vessel in the Meriaura fleet was our 4104 dwt, M/S Martta VG. I had previous experience on her sister vessel, where I had been working as a Chief Officer for a couple of years. So the transition from there to Martta VG, and working for VG-Shipping was relatively smooth because of my knowledge of that specific vessel type.

I have always been keen on working within the operations and chartering department of a shipping company, so from Martta VG I then applied to a secondary summer job in the Meriaura Office, which eventually led to a permanent position there.

Describe your current duties / your work in the operations team?

I am acting as an operator for our open deck carriers, Meri and Aura. I also keep an eye on our bulk-fleet, with main focus on performance and efficiency. Close co-operation between operations, chartering and ship management teams is very important when optimizing the schedules of the fleet.

I hope to see that my sea-going experience would be useful within the operations team, and I also see that strengthened cooperation and communication between the vessels and office team is crucial to improve the overall vessel performance. 

What are the good and bad sides of office work comparing to work at sea?

There is a major difference in the working rhythm between the two, both having their pros and cons. Working 5 weeks on, and 5 weeks off is a lifestyle that may not suit everyone, but for me it was natural. Onboard we work shifts and various operations are done day and night. So regular office hours is a big change. But I do feel comfortable with the office hour style, and because shipping is a 24/7 business, the operations team must be available 24/7, which I am quite used to onboard. One negative side when working at the office compared to working at sea, is of course that you don’t have 6 months vacation per year. On the other side you have more regular working rhythm.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At the moment I have quite a few things to do; I have my master's thesis and an apartment that still needs a bit of renovating work, so these take quite a big part of my spare time. I am keen on learning, so I like to read quite a lot. Otherwise i like to work out, see my friends and family and occasionally ride my motorcycle.

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