Melkki quay in Helsinki’s West Harbour will be taken out of use. The last vessel to visit the quay on 20 September was Norwegian Breakaway, transporting nearly 5,000 international passengers on a cruise on the Baltic Sea.
The foundation of a lighthouse
The first section of Melkki quay (LMA) was built in 1981 and the second section (LMB) was built in 1985. The quay is 400 metres long in total. It was named after Melkki island in front of Helsinki.
The quay was built on land reclaimed from the sea and founded on caissons floated to the site and filled with sand. Surge shafts were built in the LMB section to decrease surge reflection.
A colourful history as a container quay
For nearly thirty years, Melkki quay served as a container quay for international trade. One multi-purpose crane and three large frame cranes, one of which had been brought on site over land from its former post on Saukko quay in the West Harbour, operated on Melkki quay. When Melkki quay was no longer needed as a container quay, some of the cranes were sold to the Port of Sillamäe in Estonia, where they may be in use to this day.
The last cargo ship to ever visit the quay was MS Aura transporting Finnsteve equipment from the West Harbour to the new Vuosaari Harbour in November 2008.
Serving international cruise passengers
The quay was transformed into a cruise quay in 2009, when the harbour needed more capacity to accommodate larger cruise ships. The quay proved to be very functional, as it could moor large cruise ships with lengths of up to 330 metres. As a matter of fact, the first cruise ship was moored there long before the quay was ever transformed to a cruise quay. The most impressive beauty of its time, the Queen Elisabeth 2, was moored on Melkki quay on 1 August 1996.
All in all, Melkki quay served approximately 300–400 cruise ships in its time. This autumn, the quay will be demolished as the Port of Helsinki is set to assign the area to the City of Helsinki for housing development. We wish to extend a warm welcome to the new residents of the historical shoreline right next to the harbour!
*edited 3 October 2018. Information about the last vessel to visit the quay was corrected since the planned last call was cancelled due to the weather conditions.