Stena Line has officially taken ownership of its newest ferry, Stena Estrid, following a handover ceremony at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in north-western China. The first of five next-generation Stena Line RoPax vessels, Stena Estrid will now embark on a six-week journey to Ireland, where it will begin service on the Dublin-Holyhead route in January 2020.
A further two of the new ferries are also destined for the Irish Sea with Stena Edda expected to commence Belfast-Liverpool operations next spring, and a third vessel, Stena Embla, to be introduced on the same route in early 2021.
“Today has been six years in the planning,” said Bjarne Koitrand, Technical Operations Director, Stena Line, “and we are delighted to finally take ownership of the first of our five new ships. With the new crew now in place, they can start the long journey to the Irish Sea, where Stena Estrid will make her new home serving customers between Dublin and Holyhead.”
Niclas Mårtensson, Chief Executive, Stena Line, said that the delivery of Stena Estrid marks the start of a very important few months for Stena Line’s Irish Sea operations. “Taking ownership of Stena Estrid is a major milestone for Stena Line and is the result of a very significant investment in our Irish Sea operations that reflects our commitment to the region and will ultimately see three of the world’s most modern ferries operating between Ireland and Britain.
“A first-class customer experience is a priority for us, so we are determined to deliver the best possible freight and travel service to our customers. Stena Estrid will provide a more environmentally sustainable way to travel with more efficient loading and unloading operations, increased freight capacity, and the best Scandinavian quality, style and design in our facilities, including the Hygge Lounge and the latest upgrade of our premium area Stena Plus.”
Part of a multi-million-pound investment in the region, the new Stena Line ships will be among the most advanced vessels in operation and larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels.
At 215 metres in length, the 42,400gt Stena Estrid (meaning ‘divinely beautiful’) has a speed of 22 knots and will provide freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres for 210 freight vehicles, meaning a 50% increase in freight tonnage, the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew, and 175 cabins.
The introduction in 2020/21 of sister ships Stena Edda and Stena Embla will increase freight capacity on the Belfast-Liverpool route by 20%.