Update: 12.10.18: Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith has confirmed that STENA FREIGHTER will be used by the company. She is currently on her way to Pensacola, Florida having left Setubal in Portugal on the 6th of October. At present it appears she has retained her Stena name. MEXICO STAR has also left Setubal and is on her way to Pichilingue in Mexico. She will of course join another former Stena vessel in the Baja Ferries fleet, CALIFORNIA STAR (originally the Dublin – Holyhead RoPax STENA FORWARDER).
Update: 25.09.18: Since our last update STENA FREIGHTER has joined her recently renamed sister MEXICO STAR at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal, and is occupying the dry-dock next to her. Her AIS transponder has already been changed to a new destination of Pensacola in Florida with an ETA of 15.10.18. As always though this ETA should be taken with a pinch of salt and may be subject to change, as could her next destination!
It is now being widely reported that STENA FREIGHTER has been purchased by Blue Origin for use in the “New Glenn” rocket project. Tradewinds states that WP Tech (in Polish) say STENA FREIGHTER will be used as a launch pad, but NIFS cannot find any reference to this on the WP Tech Site with the article linked above only saying that she will be involved in the New Glenn project. At present it seems most likely given her size that STENA FREIGHTER will be used to transport components, either for the rockets themselves or for the launcher, which NIFS understands will be based on dry land at Cape Canaveral. Blue Origin have a number of component manufacturing sites in the US.
Update: 14.09.18: Shippax (and others including Le Marin) have reported that STENA FREIGHTER has been sold to Blue Origin, the space company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. They report that her future role will be transporting rocket components!
Update: 04.09.18: STENA CARRIER has been renamed MEXICO STAR and re-registered in Mexico. She is now in dry-dock at the Lisnave shipyard.
Update 02.09.18: Shippax have reported that Mexico’s Baja Ferries are the purchaser of STENA CARRIER. Link (paywalled)
Sale of Stena Carrier leads to P&O fleet reshuffle
Speculation that STENA CARRIER had been sold was confirmed today with the release of Stena Ab’s half-yearly results. The results also confirm that fellow Stena 4-Runner Mk I RoRo STENA FREIGHTER has been sold. No buyers have been named though delivery of STENA CARRIER is stated as August 2018 and for STENA FREIGHTER late 2018. The sales leave just one of the three original Stena 4-Runner Mk 1 class, ARK FORWARDER, owned by the Stena group of companies (Update: ARK FORWARDER was long-term chartered to MSC earlier in the year and is now named MSC BRIDGE). STENA CARRIER had previously been rumoured to be replacing the former STENA PRECISION, however STENA FORERUNNER did this instead.
STENA CARRIER had most recently been on short-term charter to P&O Ferries for their Teesport to Rotterdam (Europoort) service. She had replaced ESTRADEN which under much publicity had moved to increase capacity on the Teesport to Zeebrugge service. With STENA CARRIER now alongside at the Lisnave shipyard in Setubal (Portugal), ESTRADEN has returned to the Rotterdam service. This leaves the Zeebrugge route to be served by NORSTREAM and BORE SONG. Godby Shipping’s MISTRAL has returned to P&O Ferries from Stena Line after her summer sub-charter, to partner NORSKY on the Tilbury to Zeebrugge route. STENA FREIGHTER meanwhile is currently on charter to
CMA CGM Compagnie Tunisiènne de Navigation (CTN). STENA CARRIER and STENA FREIGHTER are part-sisters to STENA FORERUNNER which is built to the enlarged and improved Stena 4-Runner Mk II design. STENA FORERUNNER is also owned by Stena RoRo but chartered to Stena Line.
About Stena RoRo
Stena RoRo is the vessel acquisition, sales, and chartering division of Stena Ab, and is run as a separate business from Stena Line. They provide vessels both to internal Stena owned companies and businesses external to the Stena organisation through either sale or charter, such as Marine Atlantic (HIGHLANDERS / BLUE PUTTEES), DFDS (STENA FORETELLER), Strait Shipping (STRAIT FERONIA) and Brittany Ferries (ETRETAT / CONNEMARA). Their highest profile project at present is the order for 8 Stena E-Flexer Ropax ferries for Stena Line, Brittany Ferries, and DFDS.