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Canadian Visitor returns to Harland & Wolff Ahead of Further Stena Line Work

Harland & Wolff (Belfast) expects to welcome OCEANEX CONNAIGRA back to the yard on tomorrow. The FSG built Con-Ro ferry is currently crossing the Atlantic from St Johns, Newfoundland. OCEANEX CONNAIGRA is no stranger to Belfast. The ship visited Harland & Wolff for over a month in 2014 when still less than a year old.  The 210m long ship remains too large to dry dock at most yards on the east coast of America, and as well has Belfast has visited Gibraltar in the past. On arrival, she is expected to rest at Belfast Dry Dock before moving to Belfast Building Dock on Thursday after STENA SCOTIA leaves.

STENA SCOTIA is currently scheduled to leave Belfast Building Dock on Thursday morning (03/09).  This will allow her to return the Belfast – Heysham route from Saturday.  In the meantime, the chartered freighter SEATRUCK PANORAMA will deputise on the route opposite STENA HIBERNIA on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday according to Stena’s live freight timetable.  

SEATRUCK PANORAMA is seen at the West Float, Birkenhead, on her way to the Wet Basin at Cammell-Laird, 1st Sept 2018. Copyright © Das Boot 160. Flickr.
SEATRUCK PANORAMA is seen at the West Float, Birkenhead, on her way to the Wet Basin at Cammell-Laird, 1st Sept 2018. Copyright © Das Boot 160. Flickr.

With the return of STENA SCOTIA to service on Saturday, SEATRUCK PANORAMA is timetabled to switch to the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) shoulder service. STENA NORDICA‘s final scheduled sailing on this service is timetabled for the Thursday afternoon 15:30 departure ex Belfast. ‘Panorama’ is understood to be on a time-charter rather than a long-term arrangement from Seatruck Ferries. The Seatruck Ro-Ro appears to be allocated to the Liverpool route going forward.

Stena Estrid to cover at Belfast?

Stena Line is still expected to dry dock both STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII at Harland & Wolff during September. In order to cover the Superfasts, Stena Line is expected to redeploy STENA ESTRID from the Dublin – Holyhead route.  With two weeks quarantine still required on arrival in Ireland, passenger figures on the Dublin route remain low.  Passenger numbers at Belfast, however, have increased since the UK started reducing COVID-19 restrictions.    STENA NORDICA is expected to return to Holyhead to release STENA ESTRID.  

Stena Line's STENA ESTRID seen sailing from Dublin Port on 03.03.20. Copyright © Robbie Cox.
Stena Line’s STENA ESTRID seen sailing from Dublin Port on 03.03.20. Copyright © Robbie Cox.

Recently ‘Nordica’ has been sailing between Belfast and Birkenhead as cover for STENA SCOTIA on the Heysham – Belfast route.  At present though no changes have been made to the timetabled vessels on the Cairnryan route through September. Should STENA ESTRID cover at Belfast she will be reunited with sister-ship STENA EDDA for the first time since the pair were under construction together in China.

Adventurer to dry dock in Belfast after all?

According to posts on social media, STENA ADVENTURER may also visit the Belfast yard to have parts fitted. These have been fabricated following her dry docking at Damen Dunkerque with reported stabiliser issues in July. This will be the third dry dock visit for the ship this year after her scheduled dry docking at Falmouth in February and the visit to Dunkerque last month.

Stena Adventurer stabiliser fin. Taken whilst dry-docked at Harland and Wolff 2016. Copyright © Robbie Dennehy.
Stena Adventurer stabiliser fin. Taken whilst dry-docked at Harland and Wolff 2016. Copyright © Robbie Dennehy.

It had originally been reported that ‘Adventurer’ would come to Belfast rather than Dunkerque in July, but there was a change of plan. Should STENA ESTRID come to the North Channel, it looks probable that when she returns to Holyhead she will release STENA ADVENTURER with STENA NORDICA remaining on ‘Estrid’s’ roster until STENA ADVENTURER returns from dry docking.

Back to Poland for ‘Nordica’

Once she is no longer required on the Irish Sea, STENA NORDICA is expected to return to Poland where she will dry dock.  The former P&O Irish Sea ship has been on loan from Stena Line Scandinavia to Stena Line UK & IE as a relief vessel for well over a year, covering every Irish Sea route (although unable to dock at Heysham).  While in dry dock it is also expected that some refurbishment will take place on the workhorse ferry.

Viking Cruises VIKING SKY and VIKING SEA seen moored at Harland & Wolff's Ship Repair Quay. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Viking Cruises VIKING SKY and VIKING SEA seen moored at Harland & Wolff’s Ship Repair Quay. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

Other H&W news

In other news concerning Harland & Wolff, the cruise ship VIKING SUN left the yard for Germany towards the end of last week. It is understood that she will continue her layup there. Sister-ships VIKING SEA and VIKING SKY remain at Harland & Wolff. VIKING SUN had been occupying Belfast Dry Dock (which she used as a wet dock), which is to be used by OCEANEX CONNAIGRA while she waits for the building dock to become free. The three cruise ships have been undergoing some works at H&W while laid up.

Last week H&W owner InfraStrata announced the takeover of Appedore shipyard in Devon. The facility will be renamed Harland & Wolff (Appledore).

As ever, all of the above movements reflect current information and may be subject to change.

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a ferry enthusiast from Belfast in Northern Ireland. He founded what was then NI Ferry Site 2014. Since then the site has grown from nothing to an average of over 43k pageviews per month in 2020.
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