European Commission approved environmental aid scheme for Finnish vessels

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 19.12.2011 10.35
Press release

The European Commission has approved an aid scheme for vessels that aims at environmental protection. In its decision, the Commission considers the Finnish aid scheme to meet the requirements set in the guidelines on aid for environmental protection.

The Commission's approval was a precondition for Finland being able to implement the Government Decree on the general conditions regarding aid for investments improving environmental protection.

Under the Government Decree, the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications granted in December 2010 EUR 28 million to Viking Line Abp and EUR 2 million to Gaiamare Ltd for vessel investments improving the level of environmental protection. The decisions were subject to the approval of the European Commission.

Because of the amount of aid concerned, the Viking Line aid requires a separate approval from the European Commission. The decision on granting aid to Viking Line was sent to the European Commission for approval in December 2011 and is, therefore, currently being handled by the Commission. A reply is expected during the spring of 2012.

The projects receiving aid involve major environmental innovations. The Viking Line passenger vessel will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as its fuel, and the new Gaiamare freight vessel due to be finished in 2012 will use liquid bio oil. The Gaiamare vessel will also be equipped with an oil recovery system to respond to possible accidents.

The aid is paid to the shipping company after the vessel has been signed over to the beneficiary of the aid and the vessel has been included in the Register of Merchant Vessels.

The aim of the aid scheme is to encourage shipping companies to invest in environmental protection. In addition, the Ministry wishes to promote the use of new technology in order to mitigate the negative effects of the IMO sulphur decision and to promote the uptake of new environmental technology.

Further information:
Mr Tero Jokilehto, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 535 0574
Ms Silja Ruokola, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 580 0894