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September 19, 2006

Finnjet heads for Baton Rouge

The pioneering gas turbine powered GTS Finnjet is not, after all, headed for layup in Falmouth, England--at least, not for six months or more.

Silja Oy Ab has chartered out GTS Finnjet as emergency housing for the Louisiana State Medical School on the disaster area hit by the hurricane Katrina.

Louisiana State University, Health Science Center, is in urgent need of the vessel as a substitute for premises destroyed by the hurricane. Finnjet is to be positioned in Baton Rouge, under a minimum six months charter agreement that has provisions for an extension.

Finnjet, which has around 500 cabins and an overall carrying capacity of just under 1,800, will provide a temporary replacement for faculty facilities destroyed by the hurricane.

Cabins and public spaces aboard the vessel were completely refurbished before it was switched to the Germany-Estonia-Russia route in June 2004.

As a consequence of the charter, the Finnjet's scheduled service will have to be terminated earlier than the planned September 23. Finnjet will depart Rostock for Louisiana tomorrow,Tuesday, 20 September, and is estimated to arrive in Baton Rouge on 2 October.

Due to the earlier than planned termination of the Finnjet service, the last departures from 19 September to 22 September on the Rostock–Tallinn–St. Petersburg route will have to be cancelled. Measures in relation to this fact, such as contacting the persons who have made reservations, are already being taken.

“We regret any inconvenience this may cause those of our customers who have made a reservation and we will do our utmost to minimise the disadvantage. Katrina is the worst hurricane catastrophe ever in the United States, and we believe our customers will understand our decision. We are pleased that we can be of assistance in relieving the consequences of the hurricane”, says Silja CEO Antti Pankakoski.