Steel cutting underway for unnamed new Stena Line ferry
China Merchants Jinling Shipyard (Weihai) has announced that steel cutting has started for yard number W0271 began on May 29. This is the eighth of Stena’s E-Flexer series. W0271 is the second of two extended 239.7m long examples to for use by Stena Line. The length is a stretch of around 25m over STENA ESTRID, the lead ship in the E-Flexer series. This announcement means that six of the nine vessels ordered are in various stages of production or fit out. Two have already been delivered, STENA ESTRID and STENA EDDA. The only E-Flexer currently ordered not to have started production is Brittany Ferries SANTOÑA which is not due to be delivered in 2023. Her sister-ship, SALAMANCA, had her keel laid on April 23. She is currently being assembled in one of the building docks at the shipyard.
As-yet unnamed W0271 and her direct sister W0270 will boast capacity for 1,200 passengers and 3,600 lane metres of freight. This is an increase of 200 passengers and 500 lm over the standard Stena Line E-Flexer’s such as STENA ESTRID. The number of cabins provided will also increase from 175 to 263. Stena Line has yet to announce which route the vessels will serve. There are, however, a limited number of ports in Europe which currently have a berth suitable to accommodate a 240m long ferry without major work. W0270 and W0271 are expected to be delivered on time during 2022. They are the final two ships currently on order for Stena Line. They will join part-sisters STENA ESTRID, STENA EDDA, and STENA EMBLA in the Stena Line fleet.
The Weihai shipyard also has confirmed orders for two Finnlines Ro-Pax ferries in addition to the remaining seven Stena E-Flexer’s yet to be delivered. The next ship to be delivered by China Merchants Jinling Shipbuilding (Weihai) is expected to be Brittany Ferries modified E-Flexer SANTOÑA. She is currently fitting out with sea trials and delivery expected before the end of this year. On delivery she will be long-term chartered to Brittany Ferries from Stena RoRo. SANTOÑA will be followed by Stena Line’s STENA EMBLA which is expected to enter service between Belfast and Birkenhead early in 2021.