Stena Line’s brand-new Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) ferry STENA EDDA arrived in Belfast Lough for the first time this morning. The 41,671 gt vessel anchored between Groomsport and Ballyholme at around 10 am having sailed in excess of 10,500 miles from China.
It wasn’t long before she met the vessel she will replace, STENA LAGAN, for the first time. The two ships saluted each other with their horns as STENA LAGAN passed at around 11:30. STENA EDDA turned on the spot to meet the former which was sailing to Birkenhead.
STENA EDDA is expected to start berthing trials at Belfast VT2 early tomorrow morning. In the meantime, she will stay at anchor overnight. It is not yet clear when berthing trials will take place at Birkenhead, with work still understood to be taking place on the specially adapted south berth. According to Belfast Harbour booking, STENA EDDA will also cross to Cairnryan, presumably to test her fit at Loch Ryan Port should she or any of her sisters be required as a relief vessel in the future. At present, STENA EDDA‘s maiden commercial voyage is expected to take place on the night crossing from Birkenhead on March 9th, however, this is subject to change and yet to be confirmed.
STENA LAGAN is expected to go for lengthening and rebuilding for a new role once STENA EDDA is in service. A second new ship, STENA EMBLA, will join ‘Edda’ in January. However, STENA MERSEY is expected to also leave the Belfast – Liverpool service after the summer peak season is over towards the end of August or start of September. It is expected that cover will be provided from elsewhere within the Stena fleet until STENA EMBLA arrives. Further information on STENA EDDA can be found on her profile page. STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA are the second and third of three Stena E-Flexer class ferries entering service with Stena Line on Irish Sea services this year and next. The first, STENA ESTRID, is already in service between Dublin and Holyhead.