March 24 - A Meriaura Group company Gaiamare Ltd and STX Finland Oy have signed a contract for the construction of an innovative and versatile multipurpose deck cargo vessel.

The ship will be built at Turku shipyard for delivery in spring 2012 and has a length of 105 m and width of 19 m.

This advanced vessel has been designed for transportation of demanding project cargo, such as offshore wind farm structures and is also suitable for transporting energy wood in the Baltic Sea region. The vessel will have numerous innovations and very high specifications. The ship is equipped with dynamic positioning and DASTM (Double Acting Ship) systems enabling precise and energy efficient operation even in winter ice conditions. The Finnish-Swedish ice class 1A vessel will be the first DAS dry cargo vessel in the Baltic Sea. The vessel will operate under Finnish flag.

The vessel has been designed also for oil spill response missions and has 2700 cu m of oil recovery capacity almost doubling the current capacity of Finland. The new ship can be fitted also with other oil recovery equipment. The diesel electric engines can be operated with recycled bio oil. Due to two electric rudder propellers and two bow thrusters, the ship can also run sideways in open water, enabling even more efficient oil recovery.

"This is a significant step on our way to become leading operator in sustainable energy logistics in the Northern Europe. Ecology, sustainability and economy are vital values in the development of our company" says Jussi Mälkiä, the Chairman of Meriaura Group.

"Meriaura has opened new markets in offshore wind farm structure deliveries. We intend to continue development of new energy efficient vessel concepts also for more conventional industrial dry-cargo", says Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director of Meriaura Ltd.

Meriaura specialises in the transport of industrial raw materials, products and project cargo on the Baltic Sea and in Europe. At present, the company operates 14 dry cargo vessels carrying annually approximately 2.5 million tonnes of cargo.