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[Photo feature] Ferries in Dry Dock – Part 2 of 4

Continuing with our second dry dock photo feature. This time we take in two sets of three near sister ships which have seen service with Stena Line.

STENA LAGAN / STENA MERSEY / STENA HORIZON

Three almost identical vessels from the hugely successful Visentini family. These ships have proved popular due to their relatively large freight capacity, decent passenger capacity and efficiency. Inherited from DFDS Seaways (before that Norfolkline, Norse Merchant Ferries and Norse Irish Ferries), STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY served Belfast-Liverpool from their delivery in 2005 until 2020 and 2021 respectively. Both vessels have now received a significant rebuild at the Gemak yard in Tuzla, Turkey. The rebuild increased their length and reconfigured them to provide bow doors. They are now able to load on two levels and have significantly larger passenger accommodation. For now, they serve Nynashamn-Ventspils and will move to Gdynia-Karlskrona upon delivery of two larger E-Flexer ships during 2022 and 2023.

I have had the opportunity to visit and photograph both ‘Lagan and ‘Mersey in dry dock at Belfast numerous times over the years.

STENA HORIZON serves Rosslare-Cherbourg on charter to Stena Line. I captured her at H&W in 2016. Since my photos, she has had full Stena Line livery applied.

STENA SUPERFAST VII / STENA SUPERFAST VIII / STENA SUPERFAST X

The vessels I have photographed the most are the Belfast-Cairnryan sisters, STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII. Having spent 6 years working on these ships, I was at the dry dock a number of times between their first visit to Harland and Wolff in 2013 and the last time I was able to visit in 2019.

The third sister, STENA SUPERFAST X which served Dublin-Holyhead from 2015 to 2020 also paid a number of visits to the Belfast shipyard for overhaul during her time on the Irish Sea. She differed slightly from the North Channel pair and some of the external differences can be clearly seen in the dry dock photos below. The vessel is now operating in the Mediterranean as A NEPITA for Corsica Linea. Again, the last photos I took of her in dock are from 2019.

Part 3 of our series continues tomorrow.

Scott Mackey

Scott Mackey is a Transportation and Transport Research graduate from Ulster University at Jordanstown. He has significant experience in the ferry industry, having worked for Stena Line in onboard services, as a customer services agent and sales support administrator in the freight department. He also has significant experience in public and community transport, having worked for Translink and as project officer of a rural community transport partnership. Scott has written numerous features for shipping and transport magazines and books.
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