The former Stena Line freight ferry JACKLYN (ex STENA FREIGHTER) is to be scrapped in the US. The ferry was purchased by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin in 2018 and brought to Florida for an expensive conversion by Offshore Inland for use as a rocket recovery vessel.
While a christening ceremony had already taken place during 2020 and work had begun on the conversion, including the removal of the vessels twin funnels and stern loading ramp, the company abandoned the landing ship project following a review into the programme earlier this year. The ship was named after Jeff Bezos’ mother.
JACKLYN is currently being towed to Brownesville, Texas, where she is expected to be scrapped. She was built as one of Stena’s 4Runner class of ro-ro freight ferries.
Originally to have been named STENA HISPANICA, JACKLYN had a troubled start to life. The original contract for her construction was cancelled in 1998 due to delays after her Italian builders yard had fallen into financial difficulties. The shipyard was declared bankrupt the following year. In 2002 Stena purchased the incomplete vessel, by then known as SEA CHIEFTAIN, at a bankruptcy auction. She was eventually completed by a shipyard in Croatia and delivered in 2004 as STENA FREIGHTER.
JACKLYN will be the first of the three Mk I 4Runner series to be scrapped – the others are Baja Ferries’ MEXICO STAR and MSC’s MSC BRIDGE.
The scrapping of a relatively young ro-ro may surprise some. However, with a lane-metre capacity of 2,715, JACKYLN’s size makes her too small for many modern freight routes and her dimensions too large for most others. Additionally, in a time of increasing environmental regulation, the class is not renowned for fuel efficiency. Topping this off are the preparations for her role which would require modifications to make her useful as a roro again.