In Turkey, 300 plus people build ferries for Hiiumaa

As assured by representatives of Sefine shipyard, Turkey, they are a month ahead of schedule building ferryboats to travel the mainland Estonia and Hiiumaa line. 

Metehan Yükselen, project manager at Sefine shipyard building ferryboats ordered by Port of Tallinn said the first ship is ahead of schedule by four weeks, and the other by six. «I don’t want to give promises as yet if the ships will be completed before due date, but it does seem so at the moment,» he said.

According to CEO of the plant Süleyman Akin Tuzcuoǧlu, this is not the usual way of things but the shipyard has acted on what Estonian clients asked for. For Sefine, the Estonian project is important for creating an image on European market, said Mr Tuzcuoǧlu.

As decided by Port of Tallinn, the vessels built at Sefine will service the mainland-Hiiumaa line and be named Leiger and Tiiu. As for the vessels built in Gdansk, Poland at the Remontowa shipyard, for Saaremaa, the names are Tõll and Piret.

Of the eleven hull sections of Leiger, at Sefine, eight have been assembled by now. At the moment, assembly of the ninth is underway, to be followed by both ends with ramps. With superstructures, the ship will consist of 63 sections.

On their way from Germany, MTU main engines have been dispatched towards Turkey. Pursuant to plan, they will reach the plant during October.

Compared to the shipyard at Gdansk, Sefine is smaller, averaging four-five vessels built a year. As for ferryboats like those now built for Port of Tallinn, the Turks have earlier made five such for Norwegians.  

Sefine employs about a thousand people; of these, 270 are own staff and the rest hired by subcontractors. According to the work at hand, the numbers may vary. As an example of that, Mr Tuzcuoǧlu said they had nearly 1,500 last year. That was the time Sefine was making steel structures for a new bridge to cross İzmiti Bay in Marmara Sea. «That was a challenge,» said the CEO.

Currently, 220 are working at Leiger, and 85 build Tiiu. At the end of October as pipes, wires and engines are assembled, over 400 people will be busy building the ferries for Port of Tallinn.

Having inspected the progress yesterday, Port of Tallinn board members Carri Ginter and Marko Raid were satisfied.

«I am positively surprised both at the capability of the shipyard, and them getting ahead of the schedule,» said Mr Raid. «We are cautiously optimistic.»

Mr Ginter said the Turkish ship builders have a very professional attitude. «They have made things in advance so that should delays happen, they have time to spare,» he said.

The Turks pulling ahead puts pressure on the plant in Poland. All ships are 99 percent identical both by construction and devices, so Estonians have the unique opportunity to draw comparisons.

«Basically we have the opportunity to observe who builds better. Therefore, none wants to be beaten,» noted Mr Raid.

Even so, the vessels in Gdansk will be launched into water ahead of the companions constructed in Turkey, as the method utilised at Sefine is different. In Turkey, the ship will almost totally completed in the dry and only then launched. In Poland, it is launched early on and only then do they install equipment.

Today, Port of Tallinn board is having a look at how things are going at Gdansk.

The vessels should be delivered to Port of Tallinn in second half of summer 2016, to sail the lines starting October 1st.