Large ferry company, Stena Line is expanding and strengthening its Baltic Sea operations.
Next year, the current vessels on the Nynäshamn/Ventspils route will be replaced with two lengthened ropaxes ‘Stena Lagan’ and ‘Stena Mersey’, which will add further 30% freight capacity.
Since Stena Line acquired the ferry route between Nynäshamn in Sweden and Ventspils in Latvia in 2012, it has more than doubled its operations from one vessel and 10 departures per week, to the current fixed timetable, which has two vessels and 24 departures per week.
“We have seen an increase in demand from our customers across the wider Baltic Sea region. We are now strengthening our position and customer offer further with new modern vessels and more capacity,” explained Niclas Mårtensson, Stena Line CEO (pictured).
The two ropaxes were built at the Italian shipyard Visentini in 2005 and have been operating on Stena Line’s Irish Sea route between Belfast and Liverpool for the last 10 years.
To create a more standardised and modern flexible fleet, the two vessels will be upgraded, modified and lengthened before returning to Stena Line to operate in the Baltic.
The conversion is being undertaken by Stena RoRo and Sedef Shipyard in Turkey.
They will be lengthened by adding a 36 m mid-section and after the conversion they will be 222 m long and have a capacity of 200 cabins, 970 pax and 2,875 freight lane meters plus an additional car deck.
To increase the loading efficiency, they will also be modified with drive through capabilities on two levels. The vessels will also be fitted with hybrid scrubbers.
Their interiors will be updated to Stena Line’s Scandinavian, light and spacious design. New cabin categories will be added, as will a new shop, lounge areas with reclining chairs, as well as a sundeck. A separate dining offer for freight drivers will also be added.
The first vessel, ‘Stena Lagan’ is currently at the Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey. She is planned to start operating on the Nynäshamn/Ventspils route at the beginning of 2021.
‘Stena Mersey’ is still operating on the Belfast/Liverpool route and will be replaced by the third E-Flexer ‘Stena Embla’ in January, 2021 before leaving for Tuzla. She is expected to return to service on her new route later during the year.
”We continue to build on our successful ropax concept, combining freight and passengers. These two new vessels will be a fantastic addition to the fleet and for our customers. I am looking forward to welcoming them on board,” said Johan Edelman, Trade Director Baltic Sea North at Stena Line who started on 1st October.
“Extending vessels is a good and cost-effective way of quickly increasing capacity,” Per Westling, Stena RoRo President explained. “The ships will be both larger and significantly upgraded through this pioneering project. We are pleased to contribute to creating good value for the customer, as well as providing positive experiences for passengers and reduced environmental impact.”
In addition to the lengthening project, five new ferries will be delivered during 2019/2022. The five E-Flexer class ropaxes are designed and built together with Stena RoRo at the CMI Jinling Shipyard in Weihai, China.
The two first vessels, ‘Stena Estrid’ and ‘Stena Edda’ began operations during the spring on the Irish Sea, and the delivery of the third vessel, ‘Stena Embla’, is planned for the end of this year.
The last two E-Flexers, which are longer and provide more capacity, are scheduled for delivery during 2022. Their routes or names have not yet been disclosed.
Stena Line has also announced that ’’Stena Embla’, the last of its three new ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea.
The global pandemic has not delayed the vessel’s construction, which is being delivered on schedule.
“It is great to see that the shipyard has not missed a beat during this year’s final stages of the build. Today the last of our three next generation ferries achieved a very important milestone bang on time,” said Stena Line’s Paul Grant, Trade Director, Irish Sea.
“Sea trials are a critical phase in a new ship’s development; it is our first opportunity to test a new vessel out at sea and put her through her paces to ensure that she is up to our high standards.
“We systematically go through all aspects of the new ship and I am pleased to say that Stena Embla has successfully completed every trial. We now look forward to the full handover of the vessel by the shipyard and starting her journey to the Irish Sea” he added.