Monday, June 29, 2020

Last Two in Series of New RoPax Ferries Begin Construction

Build Goes Ahead Despite the Virus
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – CHINA – EUROPE – The last two of the five E-Flexer Ro/Pax ferries ordered by Stena Line from the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China are now under construction despite the havoc caused to global production schedules due to the pandemic. The Swedish group has also confirmed the third E-Flexer vessel destined for the Irish Sea, Stena Embla, is expected to be delivered on time and will start operating on the Belfast-Liverpool route in January 2021.

The final two ships in the class, ordered from sister company Stena RoRo, with specifications we published last year, are scheduled for delivery in 2022, whilst the first two ships Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, have already entered service on the Irish Sea earlier this year.

These last two vessels are larger versions of their three siblings measuring 240 metres long with a load capacity of 3,600 length metres, compared to the first three which are 214 metres long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length metres. In total, the larger vessels also get 50% more cabins and beds, 30% increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% cargo capacity.

Stena Line claims the five new vessels of the E-Flexer series are among the world's most modern and efficient RoPax vessels, all are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or LNG fuel with drive-through lanes in the two levels and hull, propeller, bulb and rudder design making them up to 30% more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet. The two longer ships will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. This electrical connectivity also enables a conversion to electric hybrid in the future.

In addition to the newbuilds, two other ships in the fleet Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, are to be extended by 36 metres adding 30% more cargo capacity via two drive through levels, and 75 extra cabins will be added. These two vessels are expected to be back moving traffic in Stena Line's network in 2021 with no indication yet as to where they will operate. Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson, commented:

“Despite a tough time during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have shown how important Stena Line is to linking Europe's freight and passenger transport and vital supply lines. We believe in continued growth and demand in all our markets and with the new ferries in place we will be well equipped for the future. We continue to build on our successful RoPax concept with a mix of freight and passengers. By modernising and standardising our vessel fleet, we ensure a reliable operation can in an even better way support and grow with our customers”

Photo: The Stena Lagan which is due to be lengthened.