Stena Line’s HSS vessel, Stena Explorer, which operated on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire route between 1996 and 2014, is about to make her last journey on the Irish Sea as she makes her way to new owners and based in Turkey.

Stena Explorer was first introduced in the 1990s when the vessel and her sisters, Stena Voyager and Stena Discovery, were unique in their class.

Since her first sailing almost 20 years ago in April 1996, the first HSS to take up service, Stena Explorer has carried over 15 million passengers, threemillion cars and over half a million freight units on almost 29, 000 sailings between Britain and Ireland.

The ship’s last commercial journey for Stena Line on the Irish Sea was in September 2014.

When commissioned by Stena Line, the HSS series of three ships, including Stena Explorer, helped to revolutionise the look of the ferry industry. With a top speed of 40 knots and high quality onboard travel experience for 1,500 passengers and car capacity of over 600 vehicles, the ferry was popular with customers.

Stena Voyager and her two sister vessels were designed by another company in the Stena Sphere Group, Stena Teknik, and at the time were one of the most revolutionary designed and constructed ships in the world.

Captain Andrew Humphreys, Stena Line’s Safety Manager for the UK had the honour of bringing the vessel into Holyhead on 6 February 1996 and can recall the event vividly.

Captain Humphreys said: “I can remember everything about that special day.  Holyhead, a port used to virtually every shape and size of vessel had never seen anything like it. The Stena Explorer was the most beautiful and innovative looking vessel we had ever seen and to have the opportunity to Captain this superb vessel was an honour that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  I’m delighted she has found a new lease of life working in Turkey.”

The schedule, weather permitting, is for Stena Explorer to leave Holyhead on 29 October 2015 escorted by tugs on her journey to Turkey.

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