According to Shippax Information, STENA NOVA (ex YAMATO) has been sold for further service in Filipino waters. The former Japanese ferry had been acquired by Stena RoRo from Hankyu Ferry in 2019, originally with a view to converting her for use in the Mediterranean.
STENA NOVA was acquired just before COVID-19 began spreading quickly. As a result of the pandemic, operators have been largely cautious about acquiring tonnage with passenger demand much lower than normal and so interest was perhaps lower than it would have been. Corsica Ferries had been linked with STENA NOVA during 2020, but no deal was made for the ship.
Stena RoRo proposed a number of different conversion options, including as a day ferry, night ferry, or Ro-Pax. A pamphlet demonstrating these different configuration proposals was produced, and can be downloaded here (PDF). For comparison, HHV Ferry has a deckplan of STENA NOVA as YAMATO available to view here (in Japanese).
Plans for a possible conversion into a hospital ship are also known to have been drawn up. The ship was offered for either sale or charter in converted or unconverted state. While Stena RoRo negotiated a deal with a new owner/operator, STENA NOVA was put into cold layup.
In the end, however, it appears that major conversion may now be off the cards. STENA NOVA’s new operator, 2GO, already has several former Japanese ferries in its fleet. The ship is currently at anchor near Manilla and is expected to be delivered to her new operator in the coming days.
STENA NOVA has capacity for 667 passengers in her present configuration, though Stena RoRo had planned to increase this to between 1000 and 2,000. 2,350 lane metres of freight can be accommodated on decks 3 and 4.
However, as she was built for the Japanese market, height clearance on STENA NOVA’s freight decks is limited by Northern European standards. This meant that it was unlikely that the ship would sail in Northern European waters without major work to increase deck clearance by around 0.5m.