By Sami Takala in Helsinki and Tallinn
The Estonian shipping company Tallink’s brand new high-speed vessel, the M/S Superstar, started operating on the Helsinki-Tallinn route yesterday - Monday, after having arrived at its home port in Tallinn from the Italian Fincantieri shipyard last Wednesday.
Together with its sister ship Star, delivered in the spring of 2007, the new M/S Superstar will operate as the Tallink Shuttle service, a new passenger service concept combining fast and comfortable travel between the two capital cities.
According to Tallink, the bright green colour of its Shuttle vessels characterizes the environmental aspects of the ships. Both vessels consume less fuel, have modern technical solutions, and create much smaller waves compared to the smaller high-speed craft making the crossing.
However, disposable plates and cups are being used in all restaurants and cafés, except in the à la carte restaurant and business lounge.
Tallink’s Communications Manager Luulea Lääne explains that the use of disposables is part of the fast food restaurant concept.
”Nobody is wondering why people eat from paperboard boxes at McDonald’s, are they ?” argues Lääne, saying that the amount of daily waste aboard the M/S Superstar and other similar ships is some 7.5 cubic metres.
While eating meatballs and mashed potatoes from a paperboard plate, Argo Pärnpuu rejects the disposables out of hand.
”It would be nicer to have real plates and proper cutlery. These make one feel cheap”, Pärnpuu complains, while his travelling companions agree.
However, some passengers do not mind using disposables.
”In a place like this one just crams food into one’s mouth, which is why disposables are OK”, notes Markku Janhonen, while his spouse shakes her head vigorously.
”This feels really stupid. It was difficult to carry hot porridge in a paperboard bowl”, says Sari Kurka.
In the café, passengers themselves have to sort out bio waste, bottles, and cans from mixed waste, and in the kitchen a disposer will grind up food waste which will then be conveyed into a tank on the car deck.
All waste generated aboard the ship will be taken away to a waste treatment facility on the mainland. Waste water, washing water, and bilge water are all also pumped ashore.
Helsingin Sanomat / First published in print 22.4.2008