Swedish ferry company Stena Line has officially taken over the ownership of its latest ferry, ’Stena Embla’, following a handover ceremony in Weihai, China.
She is the third of five new E-Flexer ropaxes that are being built at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard, as part of an extensive fleet modernisation programme.
‘Stena Embla’ is last of three new vessels due for Irish Sea operations, which marks the end of a seven-year development programme involving a £400 mill investment in new ferries and port infrastructure in the area.
The vessel will now embark on a six-week journey to the UK and Ireland, where it will begin service in January, 2021, joining her two sister vessels, ‘Stena Estrid’ and ‘Stena Edda’, which started operations earlier this year.
“(Today) marks the end of 7 years hard work,” said the company’s COO, Peter Arvidsson, “so we are delighted to take ownership of the third new ship on schedule. With the new crew in place they can start the long journey to the Irish Sea, where ‘Stena Embla’ will begin serving customers in the UK and Ireland.”
CEO Niclas Mårtensson said ‘Stena Embla’s’ delivery marks the end of a very difficult year for the firm: “Taking ownership of ‘Stena Embla’ is a major milestone for Stena Line, as we look forward to better times ahead. While delivery of the vessel marks the end of a very tough period for us, it also marks the completion of a very significant investment in our Irish Sea operations.
“It reflects our strong support for the region that will see three of the world’s most modern ferries operating between Britain and Ireland. We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the relocation of our Northern Ireland operations to Belfast and 25 years since we commenced the Holyhead to Dublin route. Our three new ferries in the region is a sign of our strong commitment to another 25 years on the Irish Sea” he added.
Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ships are amongst the most advanced and fuel-efficient vessels in operation and are much larger than today’s standard ropaxes.
At 215 m in length, ’Stena Embla’ will provide 3,100 lane metres of freight capacity, meaning a 40% increase in freight tonnage, and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew.
The two remaining E-Flexers under construction in China are larger versions with a total length of 240 m. The routes of the unnamed ferries has not yet been revealed.
Meanwhile, Stena has said that the inauguration of the new shore power facility in Kiel means that the ferry company now has the possibility to connect 14 vessels at seven terminals with onshore electricity during port stays.
The new Kiel connection will reduce the CO2 emissions from the two ropaxes ‘Stena Scandinavica’ and ‘Stena Germanica’ by 2,700 tonnes per year.
In total Stena Line will reduce its CO2 emissions by using shore power by 13,000 tonnes per year.
Apart from Kiel, Stena has the possibility to connect to shore power supply at its two terminals in Göteborg, as well as in Karlskrona, Norvik, Trelleborg and Hoek van Holland.
Of the 36 vessels in the Stena Line fleet, 14 are now equipped with high voltage shore connection systems (HVSC).
The Kiel facility was co-funded by the Schleswig-Holstein state government (€8.9 mill) and the EU (€1.26 mill). In addition, Germany´s federal government recently agreed on a political package to decrease the user prices for onshore electricity significantly.