Stena E-Flexer – Stena’s new class of RoPax ferries.

An artists rendering of the new Stena E-Flexer class. All four vessels are now confirmed as earmarked for Stena's routes from Belfast. Stena Line.

An artists rendering of the new Stena E-Flexer class. Stena Line.

This is the detailed Stena E-Flexer page which has every update on the progress of the vessels since their announcement in 2016 archived, as well as detailed technical and supplier information.  For the much shorter overview article click here.  Older news updates are archived below the technical data and “What we know so far” sections.

The first Stena E-Flexer vessel well into the assembly stage.  TTS Group.
The first Stena E-Flexer vessel well into the assembly stage. TTS Group.

What is Stena E-Flexer?

Stena E-Flexer is a series of up to 8 12 passenger and vehicle RoPax ferries ordered by Stena RoRo from the AVIC Weihai shipyard in China in April 2016.  As the name suggests, they are designed to be flexible as well as efficient.  The series will feature a new unique hull shape developed by Stena based on over 50 years of experience in the ferry industry, and Deltamarin. The bow is shaped to reduce resistance, including around the openings for the thrusters, and the stern shaped to reduce wave making.  An organic copper free bio-repellant antifouling coating will be applied to the hull to deter marine growth (which increases drag).  As well as being efficient, E-Flexer is designed with a high capacity, and can carry up to 50% more vehicles than today’s standard RoPax vessels.  At speeds of 18 knots and below the vessels will be able to run on just one of its two propellers, with the other propeller feathered in order to minimise resistance through the water.

Environmentally Friendly

Reducing the environmental impact of these new ferries was also a focus of the design brief, and in addition to the efficiency improvements made in the design, other features such as segregated waste chutes and solar film applied to the windows to reduce energy consumption have been included in the design.  The hulls will be coated with paint that incorporates the bio-repellent antifouling ingredient Selektope®.  This will reduce drag as the vessels move through the water by inhibiting marine growth on the hulls. The lighting throughout the vessels will be provided by LED’s, while measures have been taken to select lubricants and coolants to minimise any potential impact on the environment.

Rendering of the new Stena E-Flexer class. All four vessels are now confirmed as earmarked for Stena's routes from Belfast. Stena Line.
Rendering of the new Stena E-Flexer class. Stena Line.

Confirmed Orders

To date a total of 8 vessels have been confirmed as ordered for 3 different operators.  Stena RoRo’s sister company Stena Line is expected to take delivery of three examples for Irish Sea routes, and an additional two lengthened examples for an unconfirmed market.  French operator Brittany Ferries will receive two vessels for long-haul services between England and Spain.  The remaining example has been ordered for DFDS and is expected to operate between Dover and Calais.  The first six vessels ordered will be 214.5m long and have capacity for up to 1000 people and 3100 lane metres of freight. The following two examples will be 239.7m long with capacity for 1200 people and 3600lm of freight.

The signing ceremony for the contract between Stena and AVIC Weihai for the construction of 4 RoPax ferries. AVIC
The signing ceremony for the contract between Stena and AVIC Weihai for the construction of 4 (plus 4 options) RoPax ferries. These became know as the Stena E-Flexer class. AVIC Ship

Although constructed in China, suppliers from Europe are heavily involved in the E-Flexer project. Germany’s Reinhold & Mahla are responsible for the interior outfitting, with Sweden’s Figura Arkitekter responsible for the interior design on behalf of Stena RoRo and AVIC Weihai. Caterpillar Marine are supplying the propulsion package. The entire project is supervised by Stena RoRo themselves and Finland’s Deltamarin.

VesselYard NumberOperatorEstimated deliveryPlanned RouteName
1W0263Stena Line logoStena LineLate 2019 Holyhead – Dublin * 
2W0264Stena Line logoStena LineLate 2019 / early2020Belfast – Birkenhead * 
3 Brittany FerriesAutumn 2020

Portsmouth – Le Havre/Bilbao/Santander

(replacing BAIE DE SEINE (external link) and CAP FINISTERE (external link))

GALACIA
4 Stena Line logoStena Line2020Belfast – Birkenhead * 
5 DFDS2021Dover – Calais
(Replacing CALAIS SEAWAYS (external link)))
 
6W0269Brittany Ferries [LNG]2021Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
(Replacing CAP FINISTERE (external link))
SALAMANCA
7 Stena Line logoStena Line2022TBC 
8 Stena Line logoStena Line2022TBC 

* On 8/06/18 Stena Line confirmed which routes their three E-Flexer class vessels will be deployed on.  E-Flexer #1 will go to the  Holyhead – Dublin route (in place of STENA SUPERFAST X) and #2 and #4 will go to the Belfast to Birkenhead route (it is assumed by NIFS they will replace all 3 current vessels STENA LAGAN, STENA MERSEY, and the additional RoRo vessel STENA FORERUNNER).

^ #7 & #8 announced on 18.07.18.  These are a 239.7m long extended version with 3600lm and 263 cabins.

Additional Options

All options from the original contract signed between Stena and AVIC in 2016 have now been exercised.  However, when Stena confirmed the order for the two lengthened examples for Stena Line was announced in July 2018 they also stated that they now have an additional four options to exercise, possibly taking the series to 12 units (if all options exercised).

Rendering of Brittany Ferries' Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.
Rendering of Brittany Ferries’ Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.

Delivery and Service

One of the hull sections of the first Stena E-Flexer Avic Weihai WO263 is hoisted into position.  AVIC
One of the hull sections of the first Stena E-Flexer Avic Weihai WO263 is hoisted into position. AVIC Ship.

The first E-Flexer is expected to enter service during 2020 for Stena Line on the Dublin to Holyhead route.  The remaining two initial examples built to the standard length for Stena Line will enter service on the Belfast to Birkenhead route in 2020/21.  Brittany Ferries have confirmed that the examples they are chartering will be deployed on the Portsmouth – Le Havre and Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander routes.  DFDS have stated they intend to deploy their example on the Dover – Calais route.  However, DFDS has also stated that they will finalise deployment in 2020 according to market conditions.  An additional two longer examples have also been ordered by Stena, but the route(s) on which they will operate have yet to be confirmed.  Speculation suggests that this may be the Karlskrona – Gdynia route which is presently served by four vessels in order to meet freight demand.

Considerable time has been taken in compiling the information on this page, which has come from numerous sources in different languages.  To my knowledge this is the most concise publicly accessible information resource for the Stena E-Flexer class on the internet.  If you use the information on this page elsewhere, please reference this page/website.  Thank You.

Update 2nd November 2018

New Grand Peace delivered

AVIC Weihai handed over NEW GRAND PEACE to her owners on October 31st. She will connect Weihai with Pyeongtaek in Korea on an 8 hour crossing. She has 880 passenger berths and 2160lm and is billed as the most technologically advanced vessel on the Sino-Korean services. She was of course the last vessel constructed prior to the first E-Flexer.  The next vessel to be delivered by the yard will be the first Stena E-Flexer, which has of course been earmarked for the Dublin to Holyhead service.

The handover at AVIC Weihai for NEW GRAND PEACE. AVIC
The handover ceremony at AVIC Weihai for NEW GRAND PEACE. AVIC

It has also emerged that there are plans for AVIC Ship, which owns the Weihai yard as well as another yard in Dingheng and the Finnish design agency DeltaMarin, to be merged into another state controlled shipbuilder called China Merchants Heavy Industry.  The merger will create the fourth largest shipbuilder in China and bring the two AVIC shipyards under the same ultimate owner (China Merchants) as the CSC Jinling shipyard which is currently building five 6,700lm RoRo’s for DFDS and has an order for nine 7,800lm and three 5,800lm RoRo’s for Grimaldi.  The current ultimate owner of the Weihai shipyard, AVIC International, specialises in Aerospace and Defence.

Update 15th October 2018

Its been a while since our last update with not much public news having come out of AVIC Weihai in the past few months.  The final block was lifted onto W0263, the first E-Flexer (earmarked for the Dublin – Holyhead route), on the 29th of September.

The final structural block of E-Flexer #1 being lifted into place at AVIC Weihai. This completes the construction of the 10 decks of the ship AVIC Weihai.
The final structural block of E-Flexer #1 being lifted into place at AVIC Weihai. This completes the construction of the 10 decks of the ship. AVIC Weihai.

NEW GRAND PEACE, the yard’s first RoPax ferry, had 5 days of successful sea-trials at the end of September, returning to the yard on the 30th.  Amongst other things the trials simulated a fire at sea, a full propulsion failure, and tested all backup systems.  

<strong><noscript><img src=NEW GRAND PEACE undertaking sea trials at the end of September 2018. AVIC Weihai.
NEW GRAND PEACE undertaking sea trials at the end of September 2018. After delivery she will operate between China and South Korea. AVIC Weihai.

Update September 2018

As of August 29th 204 of the 302 sections that make up W0263, the first Stena E-Flexer, have been hoisted into place and welded together.  All 304 sections are envisioned to be in place by the end of September

One of the stern sections for E-Flexer #1 being lifted into place at AVIC Weihai. AVIC Weihai.
One of the stern sections for E-Flexer #1 being lifted into place at AVIC Weihai. AVIC.

Update 18th July 2018

Stena announced today that they have taken up the remaining two options from the initial contract.  These will be a longer version of the E-Flexer design with greater freight and passenger capacity and will be delivered to Stena Line.  It was also confirmed that Stena now have an additional four options on top of the eight confirmed orders.

The first of two Caterpillar MaK 12 VM 43 C Diesel engines is lowered into the first Stena E-Flexer vessel.  Caterpillar Marine.
The first of two Caterpillar MaK 12 VM 43 C Diesel engines is lowered into the first Stena E-Flexer vessel. Caterpillar Marine.

Update 30th June 2018

Stena have announced that the keel has been laid for the second vessel, which is earmarked for the Belfast to Liverpool service.

The keel laying of Stena’s second E-Flexer RoPax at AVIC Weihai in China. When delivered this vessel will be deployed on the busy Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route. AVIC.
The keel laying of Stena’s second E-Flexer RoPax W0264 at AVIC Weihai in China took place on 15/06/18. AVIC.

Stena E-Flexer Technical Data

DISCLAIMER
As no concise technical documentation has yet been publicly released for the Stena E-Flexer class, the following information has been collated from various press releases from both Stena and their partners in the E-Flexer project, other news sources, and specialist websites.  As a result, it is of course, subject to change.  For the purposes of this table it is assumed that the first 2 vessels will be to the standard design, with the third vessel (to be chartered by Brittany Ferries) being built to slightly different specifications.  As more information emerges this table will be updated.  Considerable time has been taken in compiling this information (to my knowledge it is the most concise publicly accessible technical data for the E-Flexer class on the internet), and so it would be appreciated if you use it elsewhere that you reference this page.  As always you can submit additions or corrections via the About > Contact menu option.

Class nameStena E-Flexer (vessels 1-4)
NameTBCTBCGALACIATBC
IMO Number9807293980730898073109807322
DesignDeltamarin logo
Deltamarin / Stena
Contract dateOrdered by Stena RoRo in March 2016.  Contract for 4 initial vessels with options for a further 2 + 2.
Project ManagementStena roro logoDeltamarin logostena teknik logoDeltamarin and Stena Roro with support from Stena Teknik.
OwnerStena roro logoStena RoRo
Operator
Building YardAVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Hull NumberW0263W0264  
Keel Laid 02/02/1815/06/18  
Completion and deliveryLate 2019Early 2020Autumn 2020Late 2020
Certification

DNV GLClass: DNV GL Class 1A

Additional class notations: Ferry A, ICE-1C/ICE-1A, BIS, TMON, BWM-T, CLEAN, E0, NAUT-AW, VIBR, Recyclable, COMF(V2), GAS READY(D, MEc)

Interior designFigura arkitekter logoFigura ArkitekterFigura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter

Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter

Unconfirmed Spanish designer

Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter
Delivery and installation of public spaces, galleys, & cabinsR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&MR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&MR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&MR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M
In service (Stena Line)Late 2019-2020 approx
Likely RouteDublin – HolyheadBelfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead)Portsmouth – Le Havre
Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
[Confirmed]
Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead)
Length overall (LPP)214.5m (202m)
Beam27.8m
Draught6.4m
Gross Tonnage40,500 GT (Approx – TBC)40,500 GT (Approx – TBC)42,40040,500 GT (Approx – TBC)
Number of decks10
(3 passenger decks)
Machinery
  • CAT marine power logo2 x Caterpillar MaK 12 M43 C gas (Methanol or LNG) ready V12 4-stroke marine diesel main engines coupled to Caterpillar supplied gearboxes.  (Note that to run with Methanol or LNG the engines will require upgrading to MaK 12 M46 dual-fuel specification – this has been allowed for in the design).
  • 2 x MPP1500F controllable pitch propellers and 2 x MPP1410F controllable pitch propellers.
  • 2 x two WE Tech 2,600kW permanent magnet shaft generators, with variable frequency drive (WE Drive) connected to a DC-link switchboard (WE Tech solution 4) for bow thrusters and Power Take Out (PTO) (WE Tech solution 1).
  • Gas ready and prepared for scrubber and catalytic converter installation should it be required*.
  • Novenco HVAC systems including chillers AHU, VAV cabin units, fans and all control systems. 
    [*The first Brittany Ferries example has been confirmed as being delivered with scrubbers, while the second will be LNG powered]
Power(Max/Pme  @ 75%)25,200kW (TBC)
Design Speed22 kts
Passenger Capacity927 (approx.)
Crew73*
(* in standard layout)
Cabins175?175300175
Vehicle capacity

3100 lane metres (on 3 decks) plus 120 cars on an additional deck (deck 7) [except on #3 and#6].

5.2m free height on deck 3 and 5

Twin-level drive through loading configuration with bow and stern doors and internal ramps.

On-board FacilitiesTBCTBC
  • Boutiques
  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Club lounge
  • A choice of cabins, including pet friendly cabins
TBC
FlagTBCTBCTBC (France)TBC
Other
  • The hulls of all 4 vessels are to be coated with paint incorporating the bio-repellent antifouling ingredient Selektope®.
  •  Steel cutting began on 26th August 2017.
  • Although all vessels are to be constructed in China, many of the components are to be supplied from Europe.  For example, the main-engines, gearboxes and propellers are being supplied through Caterpillar’s Scandinavian dealer Pon Power A/S.

Table last updated: 25th May 2018

 

Class nameStena E-Flexer ( vessels 5-8)
NameTBCSALAMANCA
IMO Number98561899858321
DesignDeltamarin logo
Deltamarin / Stena
Contract date

Ordered by Stena RoRo in March 2016.  Option for an additional vessel to be chartered to DFDS exercised during April 2018.  Option 6 confirmed as exercised during May 2018. Option for 7 and 8 confirmed July 2018.

The initial contract was for 4 initial vessels with options for a further 2 + 2.  Confirmed as changed to 8 + 4 options during July 2018

Project ManagementStena roro logoDeltamarin logostena teknik logoDeltamarin and Stena RoRo with support from Stena Teknik.
OwnerStena roro logoStena RoRo
OperatorDFDS logo
Building YardAVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Hull Number W0269??
Keel Laid
Completion and delivery2021202120222022
Certification

DNV GLClass: DNV GL Class 1A

Additional class notations: Ferry A, ICE-1C/ICE-1A, BIS, TMON, BWM-T, CLEAN, E0, NAUT-AW, VIBR, Recyclable, COMF(V2), GAS READY(D, MEc)

Interior designFigura arkitekter logoFigura ArkitekterFigura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter (For Stena RoRo)
Unconfirmed Spanish designer
Figura arkitekter logoFigura ArkitekterFigura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter
Delivery and installation of public spaces, galleys, & cabinsR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&MR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&MR&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M
In service2021202120222022
Likely Route

Dover – Calais

(Replacing CALAIS SEAWAYS(external link))

Portsmouth – Santander/Bilbao

(Replacing CAP FINISTERE(external link))

TBCTBC
Length overall (LPP)214.5m (202m)237.9m
Beam27.8m
Draught6.4m
Gross Tonnage40,500 (approx – TBC)42,40045,000 (approx)45,000 (approx)
Number of decks

10

(3 passenger decks)

Machinery
  • CAT marine power logo2 x Caterpillar MaK 12 M43 C gas (Methanol or LNG) ready V12 4-stroke marine diesel main engines coupled to Caterpillar supplied gearboxes.  
    (Note that to run with Methanol or LNG the engines will require upgrading to MaK 12 M46 dual-fuel specification – this has been allowed for in the design with number 6 upgraded to run LNG as-built).
  • 2 x MPP1500F controllable pitch propellers and 2 x MPP1410F controllable pitch propellers.
  • 2 x two WE Tech 2,600kW permanent magnet shaft generators, with variable frequency drive (WE Drive) connected to a DC-link switchboard (WE Tech solution 4) for bow thrusters and Power Take Out (PTO) (WE Tech solution 1).
  • Gas ready and prepared for scrubber and catalytic converter installation should it be required*.
  • Novenco HVAC systems including chillers AHU, VAV cabin units, fans and all control systems. 
    [*The first Brittany Ferries example has been confirmed as being delivered with scrubbers, while the second will be LNG powered with the necessary upgraded engines supplied on delivery.]
Power(Max/Pme  @ 75%)25,200kW (TBC)
Design Speed22 kts
Passenger Capacity927 (approx.)1200 (including crew)
Crew73*
(* standard specification)
TBC
CabinsNone300
(plus 36 for freight drivers)
263
Vehicle capacity

3100 lane metres (on 3 decks) plus 120 cars on an additional deck (deck 7) [except on #3 and#6].

5.2m free height on deck 3 and 5

Twin-level drive through loading configuration with bow and stern doors and internal ramps.

3600lm (on 3 decks)

Plus 300 cars? (rumoured)

5.2m free height on deck 3 and 5

Twin-level drive through loading configuration with bow and stern doors and internal ramps

On-board FacilitiesTBC
  • Boutiques
  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Club lounge
  • A choice of cabins, including pet friendly cabins
N/AN/A
FlagTBCTBC (France)N/AN/A
OtherAlthough all vessels are to be constructed in China, many of the components are to be supplied from Europe.  For example, the main-engines, gearboxes and propellers are being supplied through Caterpillar’s Scandinavian dealer Pon Power A/S.

Table last updated: 27th August 2018

 


What we know so far about Stena E-Flexer

Below is a summary of what we know so far about Stena’s 4 new E-Flexer RoPax ferries, which are to be constructed in China for Stena RoRo for Stena Line operations.  It is strongly rumoured that at least 2 of the 4 will be coming to Belfast. All 4 vessels were confirmed as being earmarked for Belfast on 15/2/17, however Stena’s subsequent outright purchase of the previously chartered Belfast – Cairnryan vessels  STENA SUPERFAST VII and VIII from AS Tallink Grupp means that only 2 of the class will now be based in Belfast, both serving the route to Birkenhead.  The new ships are an in-house Stena project designed in cooperation with Finnish naval architects Deltamarin, who are themselves owned by the Chinese AVIC group (who also own the shipyard).  The keel of the first vessel has already been laid with steel cutting for the second vessel believed to have been started.  The keel for the second vessel has now also been laid.

Picture of the steel cutting ceremony for the first of Stena's four new Chinese built RoPax ferries. Stena Roro
Picture of the steel cutting ceremony for the first of Stena’s four new Chinese built RoPax ferries. Stena Roro

Stena E-Flexer is designed to be highly efficient and environmentally friendly – Stena claim they will be the most fuel efficient ferries in the world.  While 4 vessels have initially been ordered, it was confirmed that Stena had the option to increase this to 8 with an option for 2 + 2 additionally vessels.  Subsequently Stena exercised all of the original options but announced they had negotiated additional options for four further vessels when the order for vessels 7 and 8 was announced.

Project Management

stena teknik logo
Deltamarin logo

Deltamarin will provide a comprehensive engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) package, overseeing the construction of the new vessels in China alongside Stena RoRo and Stena Teknik.  Stena RoRo is Stena’s own specialist procurement, project management and leasing division and already have  a presence in China for a number of years.  Stena RoRo is responsible for design, ordering and building the vessels.  Stena Technik specialise in providing marine technical solutions and particularly the design of new build projects from initial concept to completion and are providing support to Stena RoRo on the E-Flexer project.  Perhaps the most well-known Stena Teknik project is the Stena HSS 1500.

HSS Stena Explorer pictured with HSS Stena Discovery in Belfast, back in 2008. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
HSS Stena Explorer pictured with HSS Stena Discovery in Belfast, back in 2008. These HSS 1500 craft were designed by Stena Teknik.  Copyright © Alan Geddes.

The Shipyard

AVIC logo

AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co., Ltd. (formerly Shandong Province Weihai shipyard) was built in 1951 and covers some 1,400,000 square meters on land. The production facilities include a slipway with a capacity of 50,000 DWT and two 100,000 DWT drydocks.  The company employs around 4,500 people and in addition to production for domestic customers has previously exported vessels to customers in Germany, The Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Canada and Japan.  They have joint-ventures with several companies to provide supporting facilities.  It is only recently that AVIC Weihai has moved into manufacturing ferries with the bulk of previous production consisting of bulk carriers, tankers, and container ships.

The first Stena E-Flexer hull early in the assembly process at AVIC Weihai. TTS Group.
The first Stena E-Flexer hull early in the assembly process at AVIC Weihai. To the left of the photograph is NEW GRAND PEACE nearing the end of her construction. Her place in the building dock has since been taken by the second E-Flexer WO264. TTS Group.

AVIC Weihai are currently constructing a 2160lm 880 passenger RoPax for delivery in late-2018 called NEW GRAND PEACE (Yard Number W0229) for Chinese interests.  She is 188.90m (171.50m between perpendiculars) with a breadth of 28.60m and has onboard cabins, a restaurant, entertainment spaces and a duty-free supermarket.  Like the E-Flexer design, vehicles are housed across 3 decks.  It is likely she will serve between Weihai (China) and Pyeongtaek (South Korea) on a crossing which will take around 13 hours.  Her gross tonnage is 33,051 and she was officially named on April 8th 2018 with construction having been completed 10 days early.  According to AVIC they have used methods of construction which are new to the yard, such as prefabricating cabins, in the build of NEW GRAND PEACE.

Rendering of the new Chinese RoPax build at AVIC Wehai, NEW GRAND PEACE.
Rendering of the new Chinese RoPax build at AVIC Wehai, NEW GRAND PEACE.

At the start of December 2017 AVIC Weihai launched yard number W0247, a RoRo ferry constructed for one of the Visentini family companies.  She is to be chartered to Gruppo Grendi for at least 5 years, and it is believed Visentini intend to enlarge the design before exercising their option for a sister-vessel.  Named ROSA DEI VENTI she is undergoing sea trials as of March 2018.  She is powered by Wartsila and equipped with Alfa Laval exhaust scrubbers.  Coincidentally she will replace Stena owned STENA FREIGHTER when she enters service on the Marina di Carrara – Cagliari route.  AVIC Weihai previously built 4 bulk ships for Visentini family interests.

Gruppo Grendi's new AVIC Weihai buit RoRo ROSA DEI VENTI. AVIC WEIHAI
Gruppo Grendi’s new AVIC Weihai buit RoRo ROSA DEI VENTI. AVIC WEIHAI

AVIC Weihai is a subsidiary of China’s AVIC.  AVIC is short for the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.  Despite their name, AVIC have involvement in numerous sectors worldwide, either directly or through their numerous subsidiaries, including (but certainly not limited to): aviation, electronics, defence, hotel, trade and commodities, retail, manufacturing and engineering (including shipbuilding, railways, aeronautic and astronautics, roads and infrastructure, automotive, and power plants), and real estate and property.  AVIC is entirely owned by the Chinese State.

The Interior Outfitter

R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo

R&M are an interior outfitter with a global presence, and have already completed over 100 cruise and ferry vessels. They recently established a new joint-venture in China in partnership with AVIC.  The following is taken from the R&M website: 

On 02 August 2017 R&M signed a contract for an equity Joint Venture called “R&M Marine Interior Turnkey Company (Shanghai) Ltd”. The head office of this new company is located in Shanghai, China and will be managed by Falko Schmidt, President of R&M China / Asia. The companies involved in the joint venture are R&M International Asia Operations Pte. Ltd. and AVIC International Ship Development (China) Co. Ltd. 

The strategic partnership is oriented towards a long-term cooperation between the companies and will start with the joint project of the turnkey interior outfitting (cabins, public areas and galleys/pantries) of four RoPax ferries for Stena Lines.

The scope of the new established joint venture includes all individual and turnkey solutions for interior outfitting on board of ferries (Ro-Pax), cruise ships and river cruise ships in all areas. Thereof in particular crew and passenger cabins, crew public areas, passenger public areas as well as service and utility areas.

The overall services include:

Design and engineering, rendered animations and real time simulations on 3D

Project management and supervision

Assembly and installation of wet units and cabins

Solutions for sound, thermal and fire protecting insulation as well as for HVAC – including material definition, software development, material supply and commissioning

Development, production and installation of products in particular walls, ceilings, doors, custom made furniture, wet units, pullman beds and window boxes

https://www.rm-group.com/en/company/news/news-detail/r-m-signed-joint-venture-for-strategic-partnership-in-china.html

Archived Updates

Update 13th June 2018

Brittany Ferries have announced that their two examples of the class are to be named GALACIA and SALAMANCA, following a naming competition.

Press release here (external link)

Update 25th May 2018

Brittany Ferries confirmed ealier today that they have agreed to charter a second example of the Stena E-Flexer class.  This will be the 6th example, and will be the first powered by LNG.  The vessel will operate from Portsmouth to Spain and is expected to replace CAP FINISTERE (external link).  NIFS understands the Brittany Ferries vessels will be fitted out differently to the other vessels announced to date, and will have passenger cabins in the area occupied by the dedicated car deck in the original design.  Whilst Figura will remain the lead interior architect on the vessel for Stena RoRo and the shipyard, Brittany Ferries intend to employ Spanish architects to give each of their E-Flexer’s their own character.  This latest example will be bareboat chartered from Stena RoRo for ten years with an option to purchase.  The announcement follows a similar announcement last month from DFDS that they would be chartering the 5th E-Flexer, also for 10 years, also with an option to purchase.

Rendering of Brittany Ferries' Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.
Rendering of Brittany Ferries’ Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.

 In a recent interview with Shippax, Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson confirmed that following the purchase of STENA SUPERFAST VII and VIII from Tallink, only 2 of the new Stena E-Flexer’s are “likely” to be based at Belfast.  If this is the case they will replace the three current vessels (STENA LAGAN / MERSEY / PRECISION), however he has also stated that adding a second freight only vessel could be an alternative option.  It is important to stress that in the same interview he stated that no final decision has yet been taken on the deployment of the Stena Line E-Flexer’s.   Meanwhile a planning application has been submitted to upgrade the 12 Quays terminal at Birkenhead to make the South Berth suitable for the E-Flexer’s.

Update 25th April 2018

Stena RoRo issued a Press Release this morning confirming the contract with DFDS with a slightly revised render the new vessel (below). The Press Release also confirmed that it is still intended for three of the initial four units to be deployed on Stena Line Irish Sea routes.

Updated DFDS Stena E-Flexer render provided by Stena RoRo. Stena RoRo.
Updated DFDS Stena E-Flexer render provided by Stena RoRo. Stena RoRo.

Earlier this month interior outfitter R&M announced the completion of their first milestone – a mockup of the cabin accommodation.

R&M Marine Interior Turnkey Company Shanghai Ltd., the new joint venture of R&M and AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co., Ltd. with location in Shanghai, China, is currently working on the Stena RoPax project located in AVIC Weihai shipyard, China. The project includes the turnkey solution of the cabin area, the public area and the galley area for four RoPax vessels. Each vessel has 221 prefabricated cabins as well as 18 knock down cabins that will be assembled on board. The delivery for the first ship is scheduled for August 2019.


R&M has achieved its first milestone in the project by completing the mock-up of the cabin area. Ship owners and shipyards carried out the mock-up on 31st January 2018 and Niclas Mårtensson, CEO of Stena Line, came to visit the mock-up on 2nd February. The ship owners spoke highly of the mock-up and were satisfied with the professional work provided by R&M.

The mock-up of the cabin area consists of three sections: crew cabin, passenger cabin and corridor. It took four months of designing the mock-up and purchasing the needed materials as well as three weeks of assembling on site. A high percentage of the mock-up material was purchased locally in order to keep the costs down. At the same time, it fulfilled European standards on a competitive cost level.

https://www.rm-group.com/en/company/news/news-detail/first-milestone-achieved-for-stena-ropax-project-in-china.html

Update 24th April 2018

DFDS announced today that they are to take delivery of one of Stena’s E-Flexer class RoPax ferries in 2021.  Initially the vessel will be chartered for a period of 10 years, with an option for DFDS to purchase the vessel at the end of the charter. Stena RoRo CEO Per Westling has been quoted in a Swedish article on the sjofartstidningen.se website as saying this is a fifth vessel, with 3 of the series still going to Stena Line and one each to Brittany Ferries and DFDS.  At present this new vessel is set to be the largest (in terms of vehicle capacity) in service across the Dover Strait when it arrives.  The DFDS E-Flexer will be of a modified design with differences in passenger accommodation, loading arrangements, and an additional bow thruster amongst the changes to the standard design.

Side profile drawing of the standard Stena E-Flexer Ro-pax design as released by Stena Line at the time of ordering from AVIC Weihai in China, with the rendering released today from DFDS. Image: Stena Line/DFDS edited by niferrysite.
Side profile drawing of the standard Stena E-Flexer Ro-pax design as released by Stena Line at the time of ordering from AVIC Weihai in China, with the rendering released today by DFDS. Note that in later 3D renders from Stena the profile has slightly changed, and is more similar to that in the DFDS image. Image: Stena Line/DFDS edited by NI Ferry Site.

Update March 2018

The following was published on the R&M Group website 4/10/17:

On 2nd August 2017 R&M signed a strategically important project with AVIC Ship in China: the total interior turnkey engineering, the delivery and the installation of public areas, cabins as well as the main galley and all pantries four four RoPax ferries of the European ship owner Stena Lines – with the option of four more ferries to be ordered.

The negotiations started as far back as early 2016. Over this time our team managed to win the trust and confidence of STENA and AVIC in R&M’s worldwide capabilities and competencies. The trust in R&M, to be the best partner in this challenging project, is based on our past and current accomplishments worldwide. This is the reason why R&M was after all entrusted with the order of all three packages. The contract is the biggest contract in R&M history and is a great team work of colleagues from different R&M entities in Europe and Asia.

AVIC have confirmed through their internal newsletter that Figura is responsible for interior design (as expected).

Update 5th February 2018

Stena Line have announced that the keel has been laid on the first of the 4 vessels, with the traditional keel laying ceremony taking place on Friday the 2nd of February.  A pound coin, a Swedish Krona, and a Chinese Yuan were placed under the keel for good luck.

Stena E-Flexer keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line
Stena E-Flexer keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line

Update January 2018

Irish Ferries owned Irish Continental Group (ICG) have announced that they have ordered a second new ferry from FSG, specifically for the Dublin to Holyhead route.  She will replace ULYSEES which will in turn replace EPSILON, and is a much larger vessel than both the one she will replace and STENA SUPERFAST X.  Stena Line have yet to respond to this development but industry speculation suggests that it is now much more likely that the first E-Flexer will go to Holyhead as a response to the introduction of the Irish Ferries new-build.  It is important to note that this is just speculation, and no official announcement has yet been made by Stena on the deployment of the E-Flexer class on any specific route.  It appears that steel cutting for the second E-Flexer vessel began on the 15th December 2017, as noted in a brief update in the AVIC internal newsletter.

Steel cutting began for the second Stena E-Flexer W0264 on December 15th

A low-key ceremony was held for the start of steel-cutting for the second Stena E-Flexer on 15th December 2018.  AVIC
A low-key ceremony was held for the start of steel-cutting for the second Stena E-Flexer on 15th December 2018. AVIC
The start of steel-cutting for the second Stena E-Flexer on 15th December 2018.  AVIC
The start of steel-cutting for the second Stena E-Flexer on 15th December 2018. AVIC

Update December 2017 (#3)

Current industry rumours/speculation suggests that the first of the 4 vessels will now replace STENA SUPERFAST X on the Dublin to Holyhead route, operating opposite STENA ADVENTURER and in competition with Irish Ferries new build WB YEATSULYSSES, one of JONATHAN SWIFT or WESTPAC EXPRESS, and possibly EPSILON.  Stena have stated they are experiencing rapid freight growth on the Dublin to Holyhead route, and the new E-Flexer vessels have over 50% more space than STENA SUPERFAST X for freight, plus an additional vehicle deck for 120 passenger cars.

Two for Birkenhead route?

Speculation also suggests that vessels 2 and 4 will now go to the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route to replace STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY, with vessel number 3 still earmarked for Brittany Ferries.  It has also been suggested that the current Birkenhead twins will redeployed on Stena’s Baltic Sea routes rather than being redeployed within the UK & IE network or being chartered out to another operator. 

Update December 2017 (#2)

On 5th December AVIC Weihai launched the 2500lm RoRo (yard number W0247) they have been constructing for one the Italian Visentini Family’s group of companies.  Named ROSA DEI VENTIshe is to be chartered to Gruppo Grendi for five years.  A second unit is also due to be constructed, also by AVIC, with a larger 3000lm vehicle capacity.

The new AVIC Weihai built RoRo ROSA DEI VENTI for one of the Visentini family companies shortly after her launch. AVIC.
The new AVIC Weihai built RoRo ROSA DI VENTI for one of the Visentini family companies shortly after her launch. AVIC.

Update December 2017 (#1)

The following text is copied from the Stena AB website here:

Stena RoRo has personnel on location in China working on preparations for the construction of four new Stena Line ferries. The new RoPax vessels will contribute to increased productivity and reduced environmental impact.

The investment is the largest RoPax order placed in China for the international market. On location in China, Stena RoRo employees have visited shipyards and sub-contractors to ensure expertise, capacity and quality.

“There are Chinese shipyards that have built RoPax vessels before, but not normally in line with international requirements,” says Per Westling, CEO of Stena RoRo.

“The Chinese business culture is different from our own and it is important to get to know it and respect it. Shipbuilding methods in China will therefore be different from those in Europe or Korea.”

To be sure that the ferry interiors meet Stena’s requirements, full scale mock-up modules of about twenty different parts of the interior are being built.

“We are proud of the vessel class, but also of the fact that we at Stena have the expertise to design and develop this vessel concept.”

“We agree with the sub-contractor on what it should look like, then they build a mock-up of cabins or wetroom modules, for example. We can see the result immediately, and any deficiencies can be corrected at an early stage. It is both a practical and pragmatic way of ensuring that the interior of the vessel meets our high quality standards,” says Per Westling.

The E-Flexer vessel class is equipped with an optimised diesel engine and built with state-of-the-art hull and propeller technology, all aimed at optimising and reducing bunker consumption.

“With the modern technology, we reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit transported by 25% compared with the vessels E-Flexer is replacing,” says Per Westling.

The vessels are being prepared to be fitted with scrubbers for exhaust gas cleaning (mainly sulphur) and with catalytic converters to ensure compliance with present and future environmental regulations.

“We are proud of the vessel class, but also of the fact that we at Stena have the expertise to design and develop this vessel concept. The end customer for the four vessels is Stena Line. Stena RoRo has design responsibility and is ordering and building with support from Stena Teknik.”

Update October 2017

Brittany Ferries have confirmed that they have signed a five-year bareboat charter agreement to charter the 3rd vessel in the series.  The agreement includes the option to extend the charter further or purchase the vessel outright.  According to Brittany Ferries the agreement includes modifications to the design of the vessel, including the provision a higher number of cabins without affecting the 3,100lm freight capacity.  

BAIE DE SEINE to return to DFDS

The vessel is intended to replace the chartered BAIE DE SEINE on the Portsmouth to Santander/Bilbao and Le Havre to Portsmouth routes.  As this vessel will be returned to owner DFDS during 2019 , Brittany Ferries have said they expect either NORMANDIE or ETRETAT will be used instead during the period until the arrival of the new vessel. There has not yet been any  indication as to whether the interior design will be undertaken by Stena’s house designer Figura or a designer of Brittany Ferries choice, however Brittany Ferries have said they have not yet decided whether the vessel will sail under the Brittany Ferries or Economie budget sub-brand.

Belfast terminal upgrade

Separately, according to their corporate plan for 2017-21, Belfast Harbour have said they are allocating some £22 million to upgrade Stena Line’s Belfast facilities, specifically Victoria Terminal 2 (used by the Birkenhead vessels).  This is expected to include the provision of twin-level loading facilities in preparation for the arrival of Stena’s E-Flexers, with similar facilities also expected to be announced for Birkenhead in the future.

Update 27th August 2017

Steel cutting began yesterday for the first of the four vessels (yard number W0263) and was marked by a ceremony in China.  Stena Line announced during July that they had purchased the current Belfast to Cairnryan vessels STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII from Tallink, which makes it likely that those vessels will stay on the Cairnryan route, releasing 2 of the E-flexer class for use elsewhere.

During an interview with Shippax earlier in the week, Brittany Ferries confirmed that they have agreed to charter one of the class, with an option to purchase.  Given they expect the vessel to arrive in early autumn 2020, this is likely to be the third vessel.  Current industry speculation points towards the final E-Flexer vessel replacing STENA SUPERFAST X on the Holyhead to Dublin route, with the first 2 vessels still expected to replace STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY on the Belfast to Birkenhead route.

Picture of the steel cutting ceremony for the first of Stena's four new Chinese built RoPax ferries. Stena Roro
Picture of the steel cutting ceremony for the first of Stena’s four new Chinese built RoPax ferries. Stena Roro.
The steel cutting ceremony for Stena's new generation of RoPax's, Stena E-Flexer. AVIC
The steel cutting ceremony for Stena’s new generation of RoPax’s, the Stena E-Flexer Class. AVIC.
Steel cutting gets underway for Stena's E-Flexer class at AVIC Weihai. AVIC
Steel cutting gets underway for Stena’s E-Flexer class at AVIC Weihai. AVIC.

The Stena E-Flexer Gallery

The above article is Copyright © Steven Tarbox, all rights reserved.  Unauthorised reproduction or distribution is strictly prohibited. 


Original article published 21/12/16
moved to ‘New-Build’ section: 27/08/17
last updated: 18.10.18
Rebuild for WordPress Gutenberg format: 16.10.18

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