Lengthening Project to Take Place Next Year
Turkish shipyard SEDEF Shipbuilding Inc has confirmed that a contract signed during March with Stena RoRo for work on behalf of Stena Line has been made official. The contract is for the lengthening and rebuilding of STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY. This will take place once they have been replaced on the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route by the brand new STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA. After lengthening the vessels will have similar capacity to the new Stena E-Flexer ferries under construction in China.
Visentini-built STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY will be extended by 36 metres to 222.6 metres in length. This will increase their freight capacity from 2,238 lane metres to 2,875 lane metres. The dedicated car capacity will also increase to 280. The current maximum passenger capacity of around 1000 passengers will remain despite the lengthening, though on their current route Stena Line have limited passenger numbers to 720 for passenger comfort. The number of cabins is also to increase, from 120 to 194.
The original designer of the vessels, NAOS Ship & Boat Design, has been an integral part of the conversion project team. Significantly, a way has been found to convert the vessels with their narrow “FlexBow” bow design to drive-through. This means after the four month conversion the vessels will have twin-level-drive-through loading instead of the present single-level stern-only capability. MacGregor is understood to have won the contract for the new access equipment which will include replacing the current lifting mechanism for the stern ramp with a hydraulic solution.
STENA LAGAN will be the first ship to arrive for conversion, making her way to Turkey after she has been replaced by STENA EDDA. According to SEDEF they expect ‘Lagan’ to arrive during April 2020, with ‘Mersey’ following once she has been released from her route. The new vessels STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA continue to progress on schedule in China with the former expected in service next year. They will be the third pair of new ships on the route in a row, following STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY (previously delivered new to Norse Merchant Ferries as LAGAN VIKING (ii) and MERSEY VIKING (ii)), and the first MERSEY VIKING (i) and LAGAN VIKING (i).
The first E-Flexer, STENA ESTRID, recently began sea trials and is expected to be introduced on the Dublin to Holyhead route early in the new year. The third E-Flexer vessel, GALICIA, which is the first of three for Brittany Ferries, was floated out yesterday.
It is not yet known which routes STENA MERSEY and STENA LAGAN will serve once their conversion is complete, but they won’t be returning to their current route. The SEDEF shipyard is located in Istanbul and Tuzla, close to the Gemak shipyard were STENA EUROPE had her life extension work completed.
Stena RoRo are no strangers to managing vessel conversion projects, and have overseen not only the lengthening of vessels but also the insertion of additional decks and shortening of vessels as well. One of the most high profile of these projects was the successful lengthening of STENA HOLLANDICA by 52m in 2007 – still the longest lengthening of a ferry ever completed. She currently serves the route between Gothenburg and Kiel as STENA GERMANICA, and has since been converted to run on methanol in place of diesel. Stena RoRo also oversaw the conversion of STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII from overnight ferries to day ferries in 2011.