A report in Swedish media indicates that the former Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) ferry STENA LAGAN will be deployed to the Nynäshamn (Sweden) – Ventspils (Latvia) route once her rebuilding work is completed. It is also reported that sister-ship, STENA MERSEY will join her once similar work is completed. The work to STENA LAGAN is expected to finish in January.
The report would seem to end months of speculation as to where the pair would go. Nynäshamn is a small town located around 60km away from the centre of Stockholm.
STENA LAGAN was replaced by STENA EDDA earlier this year and is currently undergoing a significant conversion in Turkey. The work will transform the previously stern-only loading ship into a twin-level bow and stern loading vessel. She has also been lengthened by some 36 metres, the largest such project ever to be undertaken at a Turkish yard.
A second new ship, STENA EMBLA will join the Belfast – Liverpool route early in January. STENA EMBLA is expected to begin sea-trials in China today. Stena also confirmed that the keels for two larger E-Flexer sister ships were laid yesterday.
If reports that STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY are to be deployed to the Nynäshamn route are true, it could coincide with a move of port for Stena Line. The company is expected to move to a new purpose-built Ro-Ro facility at Norvik. STENA FLAVIA has already completed trials at the new port. While the current linkspans are single level, they have been prepared to be upgraded to twin-level should it be required in future.
At Ventspils there is no twin-level-loading infrastructure, and so it would appear that vehicles on the upper decks would have to use internal ramps to main deck level in order to move between ship and shore. The deployment of the rebuilt vessels would see a significant boost in both freight capacity and passenger space.
Deploying STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY to the Latvian route would displace STENA FLAVIA and SCOTTISH VIKING from the route. The present ships are built to a similar design as STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY were originally but have less passenger accommodation.
STENA FLAVIA is owned by Stena Line sister-company Stena RoRo, while SCOTTISH VIKING is chartered from a company related to the Visentini shipyard where she was built. There have been industry rumours that STENA FLAVIA may replace STENA HORIZON on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, with Horizon also being returned to her owners.
Change on Polish route
There had been speculation that STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY would be deployed to the Karlskrona (Sweden) – Gdynia (Poland) route in place of the three ships currently there. A suitable berth at a new facility in Gdynia will not be available until at least next summer, however.
STENA NORDICA will return to the Gdynia route at the end of this month as third ship in place of STENA BALTICA. The latter ship will be returned to owner Brittany Ferries where she was previously named COTENTIN. STENA NORDICA is currently undergoing an overhaul and refit in Gdansk.