Leading ferry company Stena Line has achieved another major milestone in its fleet investment program with the ‘float out’ ceremony of the second vessel in its new generation E-Flexer series. The second vessel will be named Stena Edda* and follows the Scandinavian heritage decided for the five new vessels that are being constructed at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China.
Stena Edda is scheduled to enter service on the Belfast-Liverpool route in spring 2020. This is the second of three new E-Flexer vessels bound for the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021 which represents a significant multi-million pound investment by Stena Line in the region. The ‘float out’ ceremony started at 13.18 hrs local Weihai time on 15 April and at 18.00 Stena Edda floated out of the dock. The timings were chosen especially because 18 is a number associated with good fortune in China.
Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “It’s very exciting to follow the building process and this is another very important milestone in our rolling construction programme. This investment underscores our commitment to our operations on the Irish Sea and our determination to deliver the best possible freight and travel experience for our customers. This is a very exciting time for our business and I’m proud that as Europe’s largest ferry company, Stena Line continues help shape the industry for the next generation of freight and leisure passengers.”
At 215 metres, all three vessels being built for the Irish Sea will be larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels and will provide freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew. For the Belfast – Liverpool route capacity will increase by almost 20% compared to the current vessels in service. The next generation vessels have been designed in line with the Stena Line strategic commitment to sustainability and will be highly fuel efficient to help reduce emissions. The vessels will also feature a digitally enhanced customer experience.
“Stena Edda will deliver many benefits to our freight and travel customers including faster and easier loading/unloading with drive through decks and new port infrastructures. Our latest design in cabins and further enhancement of our Scandinavian inspired interiors will make these new ships the largest, most spacious and most comfortable ever to sail between Belfast and Liverpool,” said Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Trade Director, Irish Sea North.
Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering the biggest fleet and the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland including Holyhead to Dublin, Fishguard to Rosslare, Liverpool/Heysham to Belfast and Cairnryan to Belfast, a total of 232 weekly sailings. The company also offers a direct service from Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.
In addition to the three Irish Sea bound E-Flexer vessels, Stena Line has also ordered a further two E-Flexer RoPax vessels with a larger design, to be deployed within Stena Line’s network in 2022. These larger ships will be 240 meters long with a total freight capacity of 3,600 lane meters, and passenger capacity of 1,200. Stena Lines sister company Stena RoRo is managing all the E-Flexer building projects that are ongoing on Avic Weihai Shipyard.