French company says au revoir to its original ‘Economie’ ferry
Brittany Ferries’ ETRETAT has completed service for the company after seven years. The ship, which was chartered from Stena RoRo, will be renamed STENA LIVIA and introduced onto Stena Line’s Baltic Sea network.
According to Stena Line, “Livia” connects with both the company’s Scandinavian heritage and the vessels Italian heritage. “Liv” means shelter or protection in Old Norse and “Livia” means envy, from Latin “lividus”.
ETRETAT made her final sailing as a Brittany Ferries ship from Portsmouth to Cherbourg overnight on April 2, arriving in France the following morning. In the days prior to leaving Portsmouth, her Brittany Ferries funnel colours were painted over. At the time of writing, ETRETAT remains at Cherbourg where she is being de-stored.
One of the prolific Visentini Ro-Pax series, ETRETAT was built for EPIC shipping in 2008. She was originally chartered to LD Lines as NORMAN VOYAGER for services from Le Havre to Portsmouth and Rosslare. In autumn 2009 she was sub-chartered to Celtic Link for their Rosslare – Cherbourg service for two years, returning to LD Lines at Le Havre in 2011. DFDS took over the operation of the ship and the route in 2012, the same year she was acquired by Stena RoRo.
In March 2014, Brittany Ferries took both LD Lines and DFDS by surprise when they chartered the ship for new ‘Economie’ services from Portsmouth to Le Havre and Rosslare, in competition with both companies. For more information on ETRETAT’s career, see Gary Andrews’ article here.
Baltic fleet shuffle
Initially, the renamed STENA LIVIA will be deployed on Stena Line’s Nynashänmn – Ventspils route in place of fellow Visentini Ro-Pax SCOTTISH VIKING from mid-April. That ship has been chartered by her owners to GNV, and will be renamed GNV SEALAND. On the Ventspils route, STENA LIVIA will sail opposite STENA FLAVIA until the rebuilt STENA SCANDICA and STENA BALTICA (ex STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY) arrive.
Once released from the Nynashämn – Ventspils route later in 2021, STENA LIVIA and STENA FLAVIA will move to the Travemünde – Liepāja route. There, they’ll replace two of the oldest vessels in the Stena Line fleet, URD and STENA GOTHICA. As a result the crossing time on the route will be slashed to 20 hours from 27 while capacity will be increased by 40% over the old vessels.
Stena Line has not yet publicly disclosed the timing of the redeployments on the Baltic routes, nor what the future holds for STENA GOTHICA or URD. Although the sister-ships were rebuilt during 1991, and later re-engined, their age suggests that their next role may be outside the Stena Sphere.