Seasonal fleet movements (and Dry Dock) update

By: Steven Tarbox
Last updated:
STENA FORETELLER seen after leaving Vlaardingen for Felixstowe on 06.08.19. Copyright © Rob de Visser.
STENA FORETELLER seen after leaving Vlaardingen for Felixstowe on 06.08.19. Copyright © Rob de Visser.

As we bid farewell to 2019 the first movements for the New Year dry docking season have begun. This will be the last post to the site in 2019, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a Happy New Year!

Irish Ferries Dry Docking’s

Stena RoRo’s STENA FORETELLER arrived to anchor off Dublin last Friday (27.12), ahead of acting as this years relief vessel for the Irish Ferries fleet. It appears that during the week she will sail between Dublin and Cherbourg, switching to Dublin to Holyhead over the weekend. This will allow EPSILON to maintain the Holyhead passenger sailings during the week and offer passenger crossings to France on the weekends. It also looks like the plan is still for W.B. YEATS to cover the Rosslare – Pembroke service during ISLE OF INISHMOREs absence.  W.B. YEATS replaces ULYSSES on the timetable from Monday January 6, with EPSILON moving onto W.B. YEATS‘ sailings from the 14:30 ex Dublin. 

ULYSSES seen arriving in Dublin Bay, March 20, 2016. Copyright © Robbie Cox.
ULYSSES seen arriving in Dublin Bay, March 20, 2016. Copyright © Robbie Cox.

At present ULYSSES is expected to return to service on Saturday February 15, allowing W.B. YEATS to release ISLE OF INISHMORE from the Rosslare – Pembroke route the following day.  Irish Ferries timetable currently shows ISLE OF INISHMORE returning to service on March 23rd, with W.B. YEATS sailing on the Dublin – Cherbourg route from March 28 onwards.  STENA FORETELLER was previously on charter to DFDS, but has been displaced following the arrival of new purpose-built Ro-Ro tonnage to the DFDS fleet. She is the well-travelled sister of STENA FORECASTER and STENA FORERUNNER.


Having spent Christmas in Belfast Dry Dock, SEATRUCK PERFORMANCE left on Saturday morning (28.12), releasing sister-ship SEATRUCK PRECISION which arrived at Harland and Wolff for her own dry docking on Saturday afternoon. SEATRUCK PANORAMA remains on the Warrenpoint to Heysham route as cover.

SEATRUCK PANORAMA seen in Carlingford Lough. Copyright © Donald McCartan.
SEATRUCK PANORAMA seen in Carlingford Lough. Copyright © Donald McCartan.

Stena Estrid

Online posts suggest the STENA ESTRID is expected in service around January 18, though this has not been officially confirmed (there have also been some suggesting she will be in service the week prior). It appears she will initially release STENA ADVENTURER for refit before replacing STENA SUPERFAST X on a permanent basis. The new ship remains berthed at Holyhead’s Anglesey Aluminium Jetty following her 10,000+ mile journey from China.

YouTube video

Arrow to the rescue again

ARROW left Larne yesterday having only arrived just before Christmas. The Ro-Ro freighter has been sub-chartered to Condor Ferries following internal ramp problems with COMMODORE CLIPPER. A number of vehicles were left “trapped” onboard after the failure of her internal tilting ramp a few days ago, including passenger cars and fresh and frozen food supplies for the Channel Islands. Condor have provided the affected passengers with hire cars with high winds preventing the use of a crane to either remove the vehicles or effect repairs.

ARROW at Larne’s Continental Quay. Pictured from EUROPEAN SEAWAY. © Steven Tarbox

The arrival of ARROW will allow COMMODORE CLIPPER to go for repairs, with the stabilised monohull fast-craft CONDOR LIBERATION providing the passenger service between the UK and Channel Islands alone until the return of ‘Clipper’.  As the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s backup vessel, ARROW lays over at Continental Quay in Larne when not in service, ready to be activated at short notice if required either for the Steam Packet themselves or for short-term charter to other operators.  

Problems for Kerry

Brittany Ferries Cork – Santander vessel KERRY has been forced to miss some sailings recently due to weather conditions, with the Bay of Biscay and Atlantic experiencing stormy weather and wave heights well in excess of 10m.  She has also made headlines in Spain after discharging an unidentified substance in Santander Bay.  An investigation is underway though it appears the pollution has been successfully cleaned up. Read more here (in Spanish)

Stena Forerunner

Former Belfast – Birkenhead freight ship STENA FORERUNNER will be switching from her current Rotterdam (Europoort) – Killingholme route to the Rotterdam (Europoort) – Harwich route once released by the arrival of Alternative Transport’s FSG-built Ro-Ro’s HATCHE and QEZBAN during January.  Stena Line have chartered the latter two vessels to increase capacity on the Killingholme route, while “Forerunner’s” introduction opposite SOMERSET will also increase capacity on the Harwich route.

Christmas Day Layover positions

As posted to the Northern Ireland Ferry and Shipping Enthusiasts Facebook Group, Northern Ireland’s ferry fleet spent Christmas Day at the following locations:


Stena Superfast VII – VT4
Stena Mersey – VT1
Stena Forecaster – D1
Seatruck Performance – Belfast Dry Dock
Stena Hibernia AQ


European Causeway – MacKean Quay
Arrow – Continental Quay


Seatruck Precision – Warrenpoint

Carlingford Lough Ferry

Aisling Gabrielle – Greencastle (Co Down)
Frazer Mariner (last seen at New Ross boatyard, Nov 19th)

Strangford Ferry

Portaferry 2 and Strangford 2 tied together at the layover berth at Strangford

Rathlin Island

Spirit of Rathlin – Church Bay
Rathlin Express – Church Bay Harbour


Stena Superfast VIII – Loch Ryan Port
European Highlander – Cairnryan 1


Stena Lagan – Birkenhead 12 Quays North


Seatruck Panorama – Heysham roro 3
Stena Scotia – Heysham roro 3

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