Irish Sea fast craft operations continue to decline, with Stena Line selling 86m catamaran Stena Lynx III in addition to withdrawing Belfast-based HSS1500 vessel Stena Voyager and reducing the use of sister Stena Explorer between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire.
Stena confirmed the purchase of the 81m Incat Stena Lynx III by South Korean operator Dae-A-Gosok Ferry at the beginning of October. Laid up in Dublin after completing summer sailings between Fishguard and Rosslare, the 1996-built vessel had all Stena markings removed, and she was expected to commence a delivery voyage as Sunflower 2 later in the month. Based in Pohang, Dae-A-Gosok have a six-strong high-speed fleet including the 1995-built K class Incat Sun Flower. They bought Stena‘s original UK fast craft, the 74m Stena Lynx (1993), in 1999 and ran her as Mandarin until sale in 2008.
The 670-passenger/148-car Lynx III has been on the Irish Sea for 12 years and, originally chartered from Argentine owners, was named at Dover in 1996. After a year of service to Calais, she moved to the Newhaven-Dieppe route and was renamed Elite. Back with Stena by the end of 1998, when the Lynx name was restored, the 4,114gt vessel had another spell as Elite in 2003.
Stena Line had already announced plans to switch Stena Explorer to April-September ‘Central Corridor’ operation in 2012, and Stena Voyager will be redundant after the introduction of Stena Superfast VII and VIII at Belfast.