Sunday, 8 September 2013

M/S J.L. Runeberg - An "old friend" in Helsinki

It was nice to meet an "old friend", the classic passenger boat J.L. Runeberg, in Helsinki last week. The former steamer is still in fine shape, and continues to take visitors to destinations in Finland's southern archipelago, as it has done already for over 100 years.

The J.L. Runeberg's home page has a brief history of the boat:

m/s J.L. Runeberg was built in Helsinki in 1912. Originally she sailed under the name s/s Helsingfors Skärgård (”Helsinki Archipelago”). In the beginning this steamer trafficed west from Helsinki, to Porkkala. In the 1930’s the name was changed to s/s J.L. Runeberg and the ship cruised to Porvoo for the first time.
Over the years the ship has had several owners and been on duty as a transporting ship for the military, as a zoo-ferry and as an excursion boat. It has experienced several groundings, been under break up threat and stood ashore for several years. In the 1960’s it was restored and got a diesel engine. Once again she run between Helsinki and Porvoo.
When m/s J.L. Runeberg came into Shipowners Co J.L. Runeberg’s hands in 1986, it was tired and worn. Together with friends the enthusiastic owners restored the ship. The careful maintenance and restoring job goes on every winter, using traditional methods and crafts. The future looks bright for this 100 years old ship!


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