Stena Line‘s 1981 veteran STENA EUROPE is currently at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff Shipyard for repair work. This is the third time the vessel has visited the shipyard in the last 12 months, having previously had work carried out in July and November 2020. She arrived on 18th May.
In a statement from the company, they stated that a routine inspection had revealed an issue which required immediate addressing and that the decision was taken to send the ship for repairs. As a result, sailings between Fishguard and Rosslare have been temporarily suspended. It is not currently expected that services will resume until at least Friday 4th June.
During early April, Stena Line increased the frequency of its sailings between Fishguard and Rosslare from 14 to 24 per week. This followed a reduction due to low demand earlier in the year.
STENA EUROPE recently marked 40 years of service. Completed at the Gotaverken Shipyard in Gothenburg for Sessan Linjen in 1981 as KRONPRINSESSAN VICTORIA, the company was absorbed by Stena Line and the vessel was used as a day ferry on the Gothenburg-Frederikshavn route before being converted to a night ferry and placed on the Gothenburg-Kiel route. In 1988, she was renamed STENA SAGA and moved to the Oslo-Frederkishavn route after a rebuild which included additional cabins. She gained her current name for the first time in 1994 when a transfer to the North Sea saw her enter service on the Harwich-Hoek van Holland route. Following the introduction of the third HSS STENA DISCOVERY in 1997, she was withdrawn and transferred to Stena Line’s subsidiary Lion Ferry, renamed LION EUROPE and placed on the Karlskrona-Gdynia route. In 1998, all Lion Ferry routes were transferred to the Stena Line banner and the ship reverted to the name STENA EUROPE.
Transfer to the Irish Sea route between Fishguard and Rosslare took place in 2002. Prior to the move, the vessel underwent a major overhaul and upgrade, including the removal of remaining additional cabins which were installed on the upper vehicle deck in 1982. This returned her to a day ferry and restored full freight capacity for the link between Pembrokeshire and Wexford. Subsequent refits have seen continual improvement to the vessel’s accommodation and she was sent to the Gemak Shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey in March 2019 for a major life extension overhaul which saw her out of service for 6 months.