Stena Line’s new freight-only ferry entered service on the Birkenhead to Belfast route on Thursday 2 November, making its maiden commercial arrival in Belfast on Friday.
The STENA FORWARDER (ex FRIJSENBORG) has replaced STENA FORETELLER on the Birkenhead “shoulder service” carrying mainly unaccompanied freight between Northern Ireland and Merseyside. Stena’s service is also served by the E-Flexer class sister-ships STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA.
STENA FORWARDER first arrived in Belfast on Monday 23 October having left Ostend two days earlier. After berthing trials and a period tied up when the vessel’s name was repainted, STENA FORWARDER left for Dublin on 29 October, but her call at the port the following day was cancelled. The ship crossed the Irish Sea as if going to visit Holyhead, but when approaching Anglesey changed course for Birkenhead.
At Birkenhead the STENA FORWARDER tried both the north and south berths at Stena’s 12 quays terminal. On Thursday 2 November, STENA FORWARDER left Birkenhead for Belfast with her first cargo as a Stena Line vessel, arriving the following afternoon a few hours behind schedule due to adverse weather conditions.
Stena Foreteller Set to Return to the North Sea
The STENA FORETELLER is scheduled to make a return to the North Sea, but this time for Stena Line. The Chinese-built RoRo will join the Harwich – Rotterdam route from November 26, reuniting with its sister ship, STENA FORERUNNER. This move means that the ‘Foreteller will replace the chartered SOMERSET, which has been serving Stena Line since 2018 and is owned by a CLdN company. This transition also hints at the possibility of the SOMERSET finding service on one of CLdN’s routes.
Advanced timetables indicate that STENA FORETELLER will also provide refit cover on the Hoek van Holland – Killingholme route.
STENA FORETELLER arrived in Rotterdam in the early hours of Sunday 5 November and went straight into dry dock at the Damen Verolme shipyard. The ship had sailed to the Dutch city after discharging her final load from Belfast in Birkenhead on 03 November.
End of the roaming for Frijsenborg
The FRIJSENBORG, built at the Italian Visentini shipyard in 2016, along with its 2014-built sister ship, the Wedellsborg, had initially embarked on long-term charters to Nordana when they were new. However, due to financial losses, in spring 2017, the company, which had become Weco RoRo by then, ceased its liner services between the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States Gulf and East Coast.
A number of charters followed, including a three-year charter with the Louis Dreyfus Airbus project, during which the vessel was named the “SPIRIT OF MONTOIR”. In late 2020, the ship returned to Visemar and resumed its original name, the FRIJSENBORG.
More recently in October 2022, the FRIJSENBORG joined CLdN and was deployed across their network, including the Dublin – Santander route. Upon the completion of this charter, the vessel was moved to Ostend to prepare for its handover to its new owner, Stena. As part of the handover, FRIJSENBORG was renamed STENA FORWARDER, becoming the third Stena Line vessel to carry the name.