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DFDS confirms identity of its third Rosslare – Dunkerque ferry

DFDS has confirmed the identity of the third ship to join its new Rosslare – Dunkerque service. The Visentini-built Ro-Pax OPTIMA SEAWAYS will be temporarily redeployed from the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route until the end of January.

The former STENA TRAVELLER, PATRIA SEAWAYS, will release OPTIMA SEAWAYS from her usual route. The company expects that her running mate, SIRENA SEAWAYS, will provide sufficient capacity for the time of year on their Paldiski-Kapellskär service.

OPTIMA SEAWAYS. DFDS.
OPTIMA SEAWAYS. DFDS.

Confirming the identity of the ships, Aidan Coffey, DFDS’s route director said:

“I am extremely pleased to present the three freight ferries that will soon be welcoming our customers on board the route. The three ships are Visby, Kerry and Optima Seaways,”

Visby and Kerry are chartered ships, including crews, and Optima Seaways is our own ferry, which currently operates between Sweden and Lithuania. They are all proven and efficient freight ferries with capacity for up to 120 trucks and trailers plus drivers. The drivers will all be comfortably accommodated in their own COVID-19 safe cabins during the crossing.”

Last week it was confirmed that the other two vessels on the new Ireland – France route would be KERRY and VISBY. Unlike OPTIMA SEAWAYS, both of these ships have been chartered for the new route.

VISBY. Gotlandsbolaget
VISBY. Gotlandsbolaget

At present VISBY is chartered until May with the option of an extension. It is not yet clear how long KERRY has been chartered for.

When OPTIMA SEAWAYS returns to the Karlshamn-Klaipeda route at the end of January, PATRIA SEAWAYS will revert to the Paldiski-Kapellskär service.

DFDS has not yet said what ship will replace OPTIMA SEAWAYS on the Rosslare route. The company launched the new service in response to expected delays to traffic using the UK landbridge after the UK exits its EU transition arrangement on January 1st. From January 2, DFDS will offer six sailings per week in each direction between Dunkerque and Rosslare.

OPTIMA SEAWAYS was originally completed in 1999 as ALYSSA. Like KERRY, her design is an evolution of the same design used for the original MERSEY VIKING.

The MERSEY VIKING (ii) being put through her paces on July 23rd, 1997. She had been delivered from her builders in Italy earlier the same day., and was one of the lead vessels (the other being sister-ship LAGAN VIKING) in the Visentini RoPax series. The current Belfast - Liverpool vessels are an enlarged and improved version of this design. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
Norse Irish Ferries first purpose-built Ro-Pax MERSEY VIKING being put through her paces on July 23rd, 1997. She had been delivered from her builders in Italy earlier the same day. She was one of the lead vessels (the other being sister-ship LAGAN VIKING) in the Visentini RoPax series. The current Belfast – Liverpool vessels are an enlarged and improved version of this design, a version of which is still being built to this day. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

DFDS has confirmed that its new office in Rosslare is ready. Dwain Rodgers has been appointed Port Manager, and Donna Lynch Assisting Port Manager. The company appears to be sharing checkin facilities with Brittany Ferries.

A DFDS-branded checkin kiosk at Rosslare Europort. DFDS Ireland.
A DFDS-branded checkin kiosk at Rosslare Europort. DFDS Ireland.

Vessel Tech Data

VisbyKerryOptima Seaways
Built2003
Guangzhou Shipyard Int
2001
C.N. Visentini, Italy
1999
C.N. Visentini, Italy
Gross tonnage29,74624,41825,206
Length196 metres186.5 metres186.25 metres
Beam25.67 metres25.6 metres25.6 metres
Draught6.4 metres6.5 metres6.5 metres
Freight Capacity 1,800 lane metres2,030 lane metres2,115 lane metres
Cabins 92 (in DFDS service)8080
The above figures (except tonnage) are from DFDS

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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