Ferry News

Former Belfast – Liverpool Ferry Begins Commercial Sailings in The Baltic

Stena Line’s recently lengthened and refurbished ferry STENA SCANDICA (ex STENA LAGAN, etc) made her maiden commercial sailing between Nynäshamn (Sweden) and Ventspils (Latvia) on Monday. The ship is some 36m longer now than when she left the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route last year.

While the lengthening work was being undertaken in Turkey, Stena Line took the opportunity to refurbish the vessel and extend the passenger facilities. Around 80 additional cabins have been added to the ship and the passenger areas have been renovated to reflect the current Stena Line style as seen in the E-Flexer series.

The truckers restaurant onboard STENA SCANDICA which overlooks the bow of the ship. Image: © Stena Line.
The truckers restaurant onboard STENA SCANDICA which overlooks the bow of the ship. Image: © Stena Line.

The complex conversion had originally been expected to be completed at the start of this year. However, delays which have been attributed to Covid-19 restrictions pushed this back to summer. After arriving in Scandinavia at the end of June, the ship made her way to Western Ship Repair (Klaipeda) for additional preparations to be completed. She also moved from the Bahamian register to the Danish International Register (DIS).

The forward section of what was then STENA LAGAN being moved forward on rails to allow the insertion of a new 36m section. Image: Stena RoRo.
The forward section of what was then STENA LAGAN being moved forward on rails to allow the insertion of a new 36m section. Image: Stena RoRo.

Changes

STENA SCANDICA has 70% more cabin capacity and 30% additional freight capacity than the ship she replaces, STENA LIVIA (ex ETRETAT). For the first time, STENA SCANDICA now has bow doors, allowing the ship to be used as a drive-through vessel when required. A new system of ramps allows all vehicle decks to be accessed from the lower level bow ramp when a twin-level linkspan is not available. The vessels original stern ramp has also been replaced, though the fixed side ramp to the upper vehicle decks remains.

As with the E-Flexer's STENA ESTRID, STENA EDDA, and STENA EMBLA passengers can upgrade to a cabin with a double bed on STENA SCANDICA. Image: © Stena Line.
As with the E-Flexer’s STENA ESTRID, STENA EDDA, and STENA EMBLA passengers can upgrade to a cabin with a double bed on STENA SCANDICA. Image: © Stena Line.

Commenting on the introduction of STENA SCANDICA, Johan Edelman, Trade Director Baltic Sea North said:

“We have been carrying passengers and freight in the Baltic Sea region for almost ten years. During this period, we have experienced a strong yearly growth. Furthermore, we have more than doubled our operations from one vessel and 10 departures per week in 2012 up to two vessels and 24 departures per week for passengers and freight in 2021. Our expansion is driven by an increased demand for sea travel and the requirement for additional freight capacity from our customers on the Baltic Sea. We are now strengthening our position and customer offer further with two new modern and bigger vessels that will add extra 30 % freight capacity and provide an attractive onboard experience on both our routes to and from Latvia during 2021,” says Johan Edelman, Trade Director Baltic Sea North.

https://news.cision.com/7952be1c-6c64-4e16-9272-46b81d96ff17/r/stena-line-s-new-ferry-stena-scandica-completes-its-maiden-voyage,c3389760
One of the additions made to the passenger facilities during STENA SCANDICA's refurbishment was this reclining seat lounge. Image: © Stena Line.
One of the additions made to the passenger facilities during STENA SCANDICA’s refurbishment was this reclining seat lounge. Image: © Stena Line.

Ambitious Plans

Stena Line has ambitious plans to double the number of passengers on their Baltic Sea route in the next three years, with the introduction of STENA SCANDICA and sister-ship STENA BALTICA (ex STENA MERSEY) a key part of their strategy. According to Johan Edelman:

“We see RoPax as our key competitive advantage and an integral part of our success story, therefore, we will continue to combine freight and passengers. These two new vessels represent a fantastic addition to the fleet for our customers, and it is just a first step towards our ambitious plan to double the number of passengers on the Baltic Sea route in 3 years,” highlights Johan Edelman.

https://news.cision.com/7952be1c-6c64-4e16-9272-46b81d96ff17/r/stena-line-s-new-ferry-stena-scandica-completes-its-maiden-voyage,c3389760
A new sun deck area has been added to the former STENA LAGAN, meaning STENA SCANDICA's passengers can enjoy a fully open outside space for the first time on STENA SCANDICA. Image: Stena Line.
A new sun deck area has been added to the former STENA LAGAN, meaning STENA SCANDICA’s passengers can enjoy a fully open outside space for the first time on STENA SCANDICA. Image: Stena Line.

A number of technical upgrades were also made during STENA SCANDICA’s rebuilding. These include a new ballast water treatment system, hybrid exhaust gas cleaning scrubbers, a Becker Marine twisted leading edge rudder similar to those found on the E-Flexers (for improved manoeuvrability), and new antifouling underwater hull paint.

These upgrades are designed to improve the vessels (already impressive for her age) fuel efficiency and environmental credentials. The increased size and capacity of the vessel also means that the exhaust gas emissions per transported unit have been reduced, a key criteria for forthcoming environmental legislation.

The Met Bar & Grill onboard STENA SCANDICA is instantly recognisable from her later years as STENA LAGAN. Image: Stena Line
The Met Bar & Grill onboard STENA SCANDICA is instantly recognisable from her later years as STENA LAGAN. Image: Stena Line

Improved Schedule

STENA SCANDICA sails overnight every weekday from Nynäshamn to Ventspils, making the return journey during the daytime. As-built part-sister STENA FLAVIA sails in the opposite direction. Over Saturday and Sunday the ships make one daytime crossing each. STENA FLAVIA is expected to be replaced on the route by STENA BALTICA once her conversion is complete during the autumn.

The coffee bar & lounge also retains a similar look to when it was Barista on the Belfast - Liverpool route. Image: Stena Line.
The coffee bar & lounge also retains a similar look to when it was Barista on the Belfast – Liverpool route. Image: Stena Line.

Having been replaced at Nynäshamn by STENA SCANDICA, STENA LIVIA has already moved to the Liepāja (Latvia) – Travemünde (Germany) route. As a result, three ships are now in service on the route in order to offer a daily service. Once released by STENA BALTICA, STENA FLAVIA will join STENA LIVIA. With both Flavia and Livia in service, the Liepāja (Latvia) – Travemünde route will return to a two ship service.

STENA FLAVIA. Stena Line
STENA FLAVIA. Stena Line

Despite the reduction in vessels, Stena will still offer daily departures in each direction due to the superior speed of the new vessels. Each trip will take 20 hours, some 7 hours less than on the vessels they replace. Stena has not yet said what their plans are for the existing tonnage on that route, STENA GOTHICA and URD.

For some more pictures of STENA LAGAN‘s lengthening, see our photo feature here.

Updated 02.08.2021: Corrected previous registry to Bahamian.

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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