Ferry Company Stena Line achieved an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the ‘launching’ ceremony of the first of its next generation of RoPax vessel taking place at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China on 16 January.
The first new vessel will be named Stena Estrid* and she took to the water for the first time and is on schedule to enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020, the first of three new E-Flexer vessels bound for the Irish Sea by 2021.
Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Today the first of our new generation vessels achieved a very important milestone for Stena Line. Stena Estrid successfully completed her ‘float out’ manoeuvre from dry dock at the Avic Shipyard and now enters a busy phase of works ahead of her Irish Sea launch early next year.”
All three vessels that are being built for the Irish Sea will be larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers. This represents a significant multi-million investment by Stena Line and underscores its commitment to its Irish Sea operations and its determination to deliver the best possible freight and travel experience. Stena Line has a strong belief that Irish Sea ferry transportation will continue to grow and it remains a key strategic business region for the company.
“Stena Estrid will bring many benefits to ferry users including speedy and efficient loading/unloading operations plus further development of our Scandinavian inspired facilities including our restful and bespoke Hygge Lounge and the latest upgrade of our premium product, the Stena Plus concept. The new ships will be spacious, light and make use of panoramic views. 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 customers,” concluded Niclas Martensson.
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 to Belfast, 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 240m 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.
Stena Estrid is connected to Stena Line’s Scandinavian heritage and Estrid is an Old Norse eastern-nordic version of the name Astrid. Estrid is commonly found on old runestones and meaning divinely beautiful.