French ferry operator Corsica Ferries has bought the 2,000-passenger cruise ferry, Silja Festival, from Silja Line operator, the Tallink Group of Estonia, for an undisclosed sum.
The French group, based in Bastia, Corsica, said that the acquisition marked a return to fleet investment after a seven-year pause following its acquisition of the Silja Festival’s sister ship, the Mega Smeralda, from Color Lines in 2008.
It told IHS Maritime that it would take delivery of the vessel in June and would carry out upgrading work in the winter before bringing it into service on lines between Italy and Sardinia next year.
It said that it was issuing a tender call to determine which shipyard should carry out the work, which involves, among other things, installation of an additional car deck.
Other work would involve renovation of commercial areas with the objective of bringing the vessel up to the same standard as the Mega Smeralda, currently the company’s flagship.
The Silja Festival, which has 540 cabins and capacity for 550 vehicles, is currently on charter outside the Tallink Group.
Corsica Ferries plans to rename the vessel Mega Andrea. It will replace the Sardinia Vera on the company’s Sardinian routes, freeing the latter vessel to provide additional capacity to cater for expected peak season traffic growth on Corsican routes.