FerriesPast and PresentSally Line

MV Botnia Express – Past and Present

IMO Number: 7224370

MV Rahal

ex Jamaa II, Alandia, Polar Express, Botnia Express, Diana

Roy Thornton Collection

Roy Thornton Collection

Twin screw motor vessel built in 1972 at Jos L Meyer Werft, Papenburg-Ems, Germany (Yard No. 566) as a passenger and vehicle roll-on/roll-off ferry

Technical Data

  • Length:¬†108.70m/108.67m (overall), 96.70m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth:¬†17.2m/18.90m (extreme), 17.56m (overall)
  • Depth:¬†3.061m
  • Draught:¬†4.60m (maximum)
  • Height on vehicle deck:¬†4.20m
  • Tonnage:¬†4,152 – 6,850 gross/1,720 -2.373 net/1,110 -1,118 deadweight
  • Engines:¬†Two Kl√∂ckner-Humboldt-Deutz SBV 12M 350 diesels.
  • Power:10.080 bhp/11.5600 bhp – 8,532kW/8,000 bhp – 5968kW
  • Speed:¬†18.5 knots
  • Capacity:¬†1,200/1,320 passengers, 265/220 cars or 32 x 12m haulage vehicles
  • Call Sign:¬†SDXW, OIJJ, XUHL2
  • IMO number:¬†7224370
  • Registry:¬†Slite/Sweden 🇸🇪, Vasa/Finland 🇫🇮, Ecker√∂/Finland 🇫🇮, San Lorenzo/Honduras 🇭🇳, Panama 🇵🇦, Phnom Penh/Cambodia 🇰🇭, Moroni/Comoros 🇰🇲
  • Sister-ships: Apollo (560), Viking I (562), Viking 3 (565), Viking 4 (570), Coromuel (568), Puerto Vallarta (571), Viking 5 (573), Azteca (575)



Constructed between 1969 ‚Äď 1974, the nine so-called ‚ÄėPapenburg Sisters‚Äô were all built at Jos. L. Meyer Werft shipyard at Papenburg-Ems, West Germany.

August 28th 1972: Launched. Fourth sister in the series.

December 11th 1972: Delivered to joint company ownerships of Rederi Ab Volo, Rederi Ab Slite, Simsonship Ab, Ivar Sund Lidingö and Ab Nils Thorwaldsson Saltsjöbaden. C.B. Myrsten as the main owner.

December 13th 1972: Visited Slite.

December 14th 1972: Unveiled in Stockholm before taking up service.

December 15th 1972: Special cruise from¬†Nybroplan in Stockholm. Guests included local entertainment “Festfolket” who, later, became more well known as “ABBA”.

December 17th 1972: In service for Viking Lines between Kapellskär РMariehamn РNådendal.

September 2nd 1973 РJune 10th 1974: Services between Stockholm РMariehamn РNådendal/ Åbo.

June 11th 1974 РAugust 26th 1974: Services between Kapellskär РMariehamn РNådendal.

© Tapio Karvonen  © Tapio Karvonen  

© Tapio Karvonen (Both)

August 27th 1974 – June 1st 1975: Services between Stockholm – Mariehamn – √Öbo.

June 2nd 1975 РSeptember 4th 1975: Services between Kapellskär РMariehamn РNådendal.

September 5th 1975 – April 30th 1976: Services between Stockholm – Mariehamn – √Öbo.

May 1st 1976: Commenced service between Kapellskär РMariehamn РNådendal.

July 4th 1978: Ran aground south of Mariehamn. Began leaking oil.

July 5th 1978: KAPELLA takes over her passenger service while TRAVETAL carries her freight.

July 6th 1978: Re-floated and goes to Finnboda yard for repairs.

July 15th 1978: Returns to service.

July 1978: Sold to Oy Vaasa-Umeå Ab, Vaasa, Finland for 42,6 million SEK with delivery in 1979.

April 26th 1979: Taken over by Oy Vaasa-Umeå Ab, Vaasa, Finland at Beckholmens Docks, Djurgården and renamed BOTNIA EXPRESS.

© Erik Hag

© Eric Hag

April 26th 1979: Chartered to Ab Myrsten, Slite.

April 26th 1979 РJune 1979: Viking Lines services between Kapellskär РMariehamn РNådendal.

June 5th 1979 – June 6th 1979: Viking Lines services between Stockholm – Mariehamn – √Öbo.

June 20th 1979: Oy Vasa – Ume√• Ab:s services between Vasa – Sundsvall/√Ėrnsk√∂ldsvik/Umea.

June 1979: Operations sold to Enso-Gutzeit Oy, Imatra, Finland. (Home port Vasa).

1980: Refits at Rauma-Repola, Nystad, Finland (including extending the aft lounge by 8m).

June 1st 1980: Company changes its name to Oy Vaasanlaivat-Vasabåtarna Ab, Vaasa, Finland.

July 7th 1982: Company sold to Rederi Ab Sally, Mariehamn, Finland.

February 25th 1985: Stuck in ice at Kvarken. Freed with the help of ice-breaker TARMO.

© Gena Amfimov

© Gena Amfimov

March 12th 1985: Stuck in ice outside Umeå.

© Pekka Karvonen

© Pekka Karvonen

February 1987: Company sold to Rederi Ab EffJohn Oy (Effoa, Johnson Line and Union Bank Of Finland).

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

December 21st 1988: Stuck in ice outside Vasa, and assisted by FENNIA.

January 1989: Chartered to Sally Line U.K for services between Ramsgate – Dunkerque.

© David Ingham  © David Ingham  

© David Ingham

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood  

© Ken Larwood

March 1989: Returned from charter.

February 27th 1989: Sold to Partrederi Botnia Express, Vasa, Finland.

© Pieter Inpyn

© Pieter Inpyn (Vasa, 01/06/1989)

November 8th 1989: Chartered to Jakob Line, Jakobstad, Finland under the banner of ‚ÄúPOLAR PRINCESS‚ÄĚ operating between Skellefte√• – Jakobstad.

March 6th 1990 – March 19th 1990: Service for Baltic Express Line between Helsinki – Tallinn.

March 20th 1990: Left Helsinki for Vasa.

© Frank Heine  © Frank Heine  

© Frank Heine (Holmsund, 13/07/1991)

December 27th 1991: Sold to Effdo 3 Oy, Vaasa, Finland.

February 28th 1992: Sold to Rederi Ab Eckerö, Mariehamn, Finland and renamed ALANDIA.

April 1992: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

April 1992 – June 1992: Chartered to Corona Line for services between Karlskrona – Gdynia.

June 12th 1992 РJune 23rd 1992: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

© Pieter Inpyn  © Pieter Inpyn  

© Pieter Inpyn (Grisslehamn, 01/06/1992)

August 24th 1992: Laid up in Mariehamn.

November 1992 РJanuary 1993: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

January 1993 – February 18th 1993: Laid up.

February 19th 1993: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

February 1994: Laid up in Mariehamn.

June 10th 1994 РAugust 21st 1994: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

September 1994: Bareboat chartered to Eestin-Linjat for services between Helsinki – Tallinn.

February 16th 1995: Took 88 Iranian refugees from Tallinn to Helsinki.

June 9th 1995 РAugust 1995: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

September 1st 1995: Bareboat charter to Eestin-Linjat Ab Ltd, Mariehamn for services between Helsinki – Tallinn.

January 1996 – June 1996: Laid up in Mariehamn (also served between Helsinki – Tallinn).

June 14th 1996 РAugust 1996: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

August 1996: Laid up in Mariehamn.

June 13th 1997 РOctober 1997: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

October 1997 – December 1997: Services between Helsinki – Tallinn.

February 9th 1998: Final day in service between Helsinki – Tallinn.

February 13th 1998: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

September 1998 РMay 2000: Laid up in Mariehamn, but made two trips with military equipment between Kapellskär РMariehamn (in 1999).

May 2000 РDecember 2000: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

January 2001 – July 2001: Laid up.

March 2001 – April 2001: Rebuilt with stern sponsons at Alandia Yard, Mariehamn, √Öland.

July 2001 РJanuary 2003: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

January 2003: Laid up in Mariehamn.

© Aleksi Lindström  © Aleksi Lindström  

© Aleksi Lindström

© Aleksi Lindström (All)

April 2003 РDecember 2003: Services between Grisslehamn РEckerö.

May 1st 2003 – May 5th 2003: Services between Helsinki – Tallinn.

January 2004 – April 2004: Rebuilt at Baltic Repair Yard, Tallinn, Estonia.

October 5th 2004 – October 15th 2004: Services between Helsinki – Tallinn.

November 26th 2004: Chartered to RG-Line, Vasa, Finland.

November 30th 2004 – December 8th 2004: Arrived at GV dock, Stockholm for refit after charter.

December 9th 2004: Left Holmsund for sea trials but between Holmsund and Vasa she grounded. Divers discovered damage to one of her propellers.

December 2004: Left Holmsund for repairs in Mariehamn.

December 2004: Repairs at Algots Yard, Mariehamn.

January 14th 2005: Sea trials after repairs, then laid-up.

February 2005: Chartered to RG-Line.

February 26th 2005 РMarch 9th 2005: Operated between Vasa РUmeå.

April 22nd 2005: Introduced between Eckerö РGrisslehamn.

May 23rd 2005: Ran aground near Eckerö, refloated without assistance.

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer

September 12th 2005: Left Mariehamn for Tallinn.

September 12th 2005: Commenced service between Tallinn – Helsinki.

September 15th 2005: Left Tallinn for Mariehamn and regular services between Eckerö РGrisslehamn.

October 4th 2005 – October 13th 2005: Services between Tallinn – Helsinki.

October 2005: Laid up in Mariehamn.

© Tim Vogel

© Tim Vogel (Mariehamn, June 2006)

April 8th 2006: Sold for ‚ā¨2.1 million to Bayway Shipping Co, Majuro,¬† Marshall Island (Skarfia Shipping Co, Monrovia, Liberia).

May 4th 2006: Left Mariehamn for Stockholm.

May 5th 2006: Docked at GV dockyard, Beckholmen for alterations before delivery to her new owners.

May 16th 2006: Moved to Värtahamnen (Stockholm).

May 16th 2006: Delivered to her new owners and renamed JAMAA II.

May 22nd 2006: Left Stockholm for Greece.

© Micke Asklander

© Micke Asklander (passing Boda 22/05/2006, on here way to the Red Sea)

July 2nd 2006: Arrived in Jeddah.

© Federico Bolognini

© Federico Bolognini

July 30th 2006: Left Jeddah.

September 2006: Services between Jeddah – Suez.

© Bob Scott

© Bob Scott

July 2007: Registered to Yellow Star Nav, S.A. Monrovia, (Horizon Worldwide Trading, Athens, Greece) Liberia.

© Wil Weijsters  © Wil Weijsters  

© Wil Weijsters

April 1st 2012: Panamanian registry.

February 1st 2014: Cambodian registry.

February 2016: Remained laid up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

November 2015: Renamed RAHAL .

© Bengt-Rune Inberg

© Bengt-Rune Inberg (Suez, 10/11/2020)

March 2021: Sold to Indian breakers.

March 17th 2021: Arrived at Alang, India.

March 26th 2021: Beached.


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Gena Amfimov, Micke Asklander, Federico Bolognini, Fotoflite, Carsten Dettmer, Frank Heine, Eric Hag, Bengt-Rune Inberg,  David Ingham, Pieter Inpyn, Tapio Karvonen, Ken Larwood, Aleksi Lindström, Bob Scott, Wil Weijsters and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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