Östersöen – Our first ferry

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As part of our series on our history we include an insert about our first ferry, ÖSTERSÖEN. Happy reading!

Ship facts

Delivered May 1954 from Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen (nb 727)
The hull was built at AS Svendborg Vaerft, Svendborg (nb 67)
Extended 1960 at Burmeister & Wain in Copenhagen (see details below)
Length: 60.7 m
Breadth: 10.5 m
Gross Tonnage: 1388 gt.
Passengers: 700
Cabins: 48
Trucks: 0
Private vehicles: 50



Skagen Line’s first vessel was the small, hired Danish ferry ÖSTERSÖEN. Built in 1954 for the Danish shipping company Dampskibsselskabet of 1866 paa Bornholm (the 66-Company), for the company’s summer traffic between Simrishamn and Allinge. This was the shortest distance between Sweden and Bornholm. The 66-Company maintained traffic along this route partly to keep away competition which could steal the lucrative summer trade. This would have diminished the profitability of the Ystad-Rönne line. During the non-summer seasons ÖSTERSÖEN would sail as an extra ferry between Copenhagen and Rönne or be docked. She was also chartered to different shipping companies.

 The entrance of Allinge Harbour was narrow and this had limited the dimensions of the ferry. Initially she was seven meters shorter in length than what is stated in the ship facts above. The ferry was extended in 1960. ÖSTERSÖEN was constructed with side doors in the front part of the hull to allow boarding of private vehicles. The construction technique was pioneered by 66-Company in the 1930s. The vehicle deck took up the entire length of the vessel. This came in handy as passenger space along the Skagen line journey.



The passenger set-up aboard ÖSTERSÖEN consisted of a dining room, a veranda and a smoking salon. 66-Company’s vessel maintained high standards and ÖSTERSÖEN offered a very comfortable and snug environment to travel in.

 In many ways ÖSTERSÖEN’s construction resembled the Sessan line KRONPRINSESSAN INGRID from 1936 which is considered a pioneer vessel on the line Gothenburg-Fredrikshavn. However, the Danish ferry was about twelve meters shorter and had significantly less draught. Its seafaring qualities were not ideal and the ship rolled considerably across the exposed waters between Sweden and Bornholm, as well as during charter Skagen Line trips on the northern Kattegatt sea. It was quite an adventure to sail with these small ships on open waters; however, this did not scare away passengers during the 1950s and -60s.

 The Charter to Skagen Line, later known as the Stena Line, had a short history from the 20th December 1962 to the 10th February 1963. ÖSTERSÖEN returned to the ordinary traffic of the 66-Company. At the start of 1973, the ferry was sold to Cypriot interests and began sailing the Adrian Sea by the name ROANA between Otranto, Korfu and Igoumenitsa. This traffic continued till 1993 when a new Cypriot shipping company chose to put her in traffic to Albania. During one season ROANA was rented out on pilgrimage across the Red Sea. Thereafter, ROANA’s career came to an end and she was disassembled as scrap metal in Brindisi in 1995 after having been docked for more than a year. /Anders Bergenek and Rickard Sahlsten.

Once again a big thank you to Anders and Rickard who compiled the information for us. Please send us your questions should you wish to know more about our ferries. The next historical insert touches on the year 1963. /Ylva.

P.S. Should you wish to read more about Monsieurs Bergenek and Sahlsten and our history, you can find their book, Stena Line – the History of a Shipping Company here. Furthermore, Rickard is chairperson of Klubb Maritim Göteborg which manages our archive.