Ro-pax ferry Stena Alegra was not idle for long after being displaced on Stena Line’s cross-Baltic service between Karlskrona, Sweden and Gdynia, Poland by the introduction of the chartered Brittany Ferries vessel Cotentin as Stena Baltica. The 1998-built Stena Alegra, originally Cenargo’s Dawn Merchant, left for New Zealand at the end of November 2013 and was due to begin a six-month charter to Interisland Line in January.
A vessel was urgently needed to operate on the Cook Strait service between Wellington and Picton after route regular Aratere (1998/12,596gt) lost a propeller while at sea early in November 2013, not being expected to return to service before the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer season.
Stena Alegra’s passenger capacity of 350 is little more than half that of Aratere, but the lead ship of Cenargo’s ‘Racehouse’ service can handle up to 78 trucks compared to Aratere’s 28. Stena Alegra was bought by Stena RoRo in May last year after a career starting with Merchant Ferries.