New-build Ferries

[In Detail] Stena E-Flexer – Stena’s new class of Ro-Pax ferries (Archived)

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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.  Older news updates are archived below the technical data and “What we know so far” sections. As of November 15th (the date of the delivery of the first E-Flexer, STENA ESTRID), this page has been archived with a replacement under construction as individual profile pages for each vessel have started to be published. As of this date, STENA EDDA, GALICIA, STENA EMBLA, and COTE D’OPALE are at different stages of completion.

For the much shorter overview article click here.

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 Ro-Pax vessels.  At speeds of 18 knots and below the vessels will be able to run on just one of their two propellers, with the other propeller feathered in order to minimise resistance through the water. To date, a total of nine confirmed orders have been placed for E-Flexer vessels, built to six different designs for three different operators.

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.

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. The hull form itself resulted from a competition between two consultant naval architects, and offers “best in class” performance at the design speed of 22 knots.

STENA ESTRID at the fitting out pier, AVIC Weihai. AVIC Ship.
The first Stena E-Flexer, STENA ESTRID, at the fitting out pier, AVIC Weihai. AVIC Ship.

Confirmed Orders

A total of 9 vessels have confirmed as ordered for 3 different operators to date.  Stena RoRo’s sister company Stena Line is expected to take delivery of three examples for Irish Sea routes, plus an additional two lengthened examples for an as yet unconfirmed market, while Brittany Ferries will receive three vessels (two LNG fueled and the other not). The first twoBrittany Ferries examples, one LNG powered and the other not, are to be deployed on long-haul services between England and Spain.  These will be named GALICIA and SALAMANCA (external link). The remaining Brittany Ferries example was announced on March 25, 2019, but it has not yet been specified which market she is for. A single E-Flexer has been ordered for DFDS and is expected to operate between Dover and Calais.  All options from the original contract signed between Stena and AVIC in 2016 have now been exercised, though Stena confirmed that they now have an additional four options to exercise when the order for the two lengthened examples for Stena Line was announced in July 2018. In Stena’s 2018 annual review, however, it was stated that there are only three options, though one of these has subsequently been exercised as a third vessel for Brittany Ferries.

Stena Line's second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line's third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.
Stena Line’s second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line’s third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.

The first six vessels ordered will be 214.5m long and have the 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 9th example, Brittany Ferries third, will return to the standard length of 214.5m.

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 known 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 is supplying the propulsion package while Saint-Gobain are shipping the glazing from France. The entire project is supervised by Stena RoRo themselves and Finland’s Deltamarin.

 

Vessel Yard Number Operator Estimated delivery Planned Route Name
1 W0263 Stena Line logoStena Line

November 2019

(previously expected late 2019/early 2020)

 Holyhead – Dublin * STENA ESTRID
2 W0264 Stena Line logoStena Line Spring 2020 Belfast – Birkenhead * STENA EDDA
3 W0267 The new Brittany Ferries logo to be introduced in late 2018 and early 2019 across the business. Brittany FerriesBrittany Ferries Autumn 2020 Portsmouth – Le Havre/Bilbao/SantanderPortsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
(replacing BAIE DE SEINE (external link) and CAP FINISTERE (external link))
GALICIA
4 W0266 Stena Line logoStena Line Early 2021 Belfast – Birkenhead * STENA EMBLA
5 W0268 DFDS 2021 Dover – Calais
(Replacing CALAIS SEAWAYS (external link))
CÔTE D’OPALE
6 W0269 The new Brittany Ferries logo to be introduced in late 2018 and early 2019 across the business. Brittany FerriesBrittany Ferries 2021 Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
(Replacing CAP FINISTERE (external link))
SALAMANCA
7 W0270^ Stena Line logoStena Line 2022 TBC  
8 W0271^ Stena Line logoStena Line 2022 TBC  
9 W0272

The new Brittany Ferries logo to be introduced in late 2018 and early 2019 across the business. Brittany FerriesBrittany Ferries

2023 TBC SANTOÑA
* 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 (currently STENA FORECASTER)).
^ #7 & #8 announced on 18.07.18.  These are a 239.7m long extended version with 3600lm and 263 cabins. SALAMANCA will be LNG fuelled and has a smaller vehicle deck capacity of 2,758 lm in order to accommodate this, as will the third Brittany Ferries E-Flexer confirmed on 26.03.19.
 

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). In Stena’s 2018 annual review, however, it was stated that there are only three options, though one of these has subsequently been exercised as a third vessel for Brittany Ferries.

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 W0263 is hoisted into position. AVIC
One of the hull sections of the first Stena E-Flexer Avic Weihai W0263 is hoisted into position. AVIC

The first E-Flexer is expected to enter service in early 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, but have 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 [SE] – Gdynia [PL] route which is presently served by four vessels in order to meet freight demand. Other routes which speculation suggests might recieve the two larger vessels instead are Ventspils [LT] to Nynäshamn [SE] and Holyhead [GB] to Dublin [IE] (in place of STENA ADVENTURER and STENA ESTRID).

The first Stena E-Flexer class ferry, STENA ESTRID (W0263) seen well into her fitting out period. Stena Line / AVIC ship.
The first Stena E-Flexer class ferry, STENA ESTRID (W0263) seen well into her fitting out period. Stena Line / AVIC ship.

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 and publications.  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 name Stena E-Flexer (vessels 1-4)
Name STENA ESTRID STENA EDDA GALICIA STENA EMBLA
IMO Number 9807293 9807308 9807310 9807322
Design Deltamarin logo
Deltamarin / Stena
Contract date Ordered by Stena RoRo in March 2016.  Contract for 4 initial vessels with options for a further 2 + 2.
Project Management Stena roro logoDeltamarin logostena teknik logoDeltamarin and Stena Roro with support from Stena Teknik.
Owner Stena roro logoStena RoRo
Operator Stena Line logo Stena Line logo

The new Brittany Ferries logo to be introduced in late 2018 and early 2019 across the business. Brittany Ferries

Stena Line logo
Building Yard AVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Hull Number W0263 W0264 W0267 W0266
Start of Steel Cutting 26/08/17 15/12/17   15/10/18
Keel Laid  02/02/18 15/06/18 16/01/19  18/04/19
Floated out 16/01/19 15/04/19    
Completion and delivery 15/11/19 Early 2020 Autumn 2020 Late 2020
Certification

DNV GLClass: DNV GL Class 1C/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 design Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter

Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter

Unconfirmed Spanish designer

Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter
Delivery and installation of public spaces, galleys, & cabins R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M
In service (Stena Line) Late 2019-2020 approx
Likely Route Dublin – Holyhead Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) Portsmouth – Le Havre
Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
[Confirmed]
Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead)
Length overall (LPP) 214.5m (202m)
Beam 27.8m
Draught 6.4m
Gross Tonnage 41,671 GT  40,500 GT (Approx – TBC) 42,400 40,500 GT (Approx – TBC)
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).
  • 2 x MPP1500F controllable pitch propellers or 2 x MPP1410F controllable pitch propellers.
  • 2 x Wärtsilä Bow Thrusters.
  • 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 Speed 22 kts
Passenger Capacity 927 (approx.)
Crew 73*
(* in standard layout)
Cabins 175 175 300 175
Vehicle capacity

3100 lane metres (on 3 decks) plus 120 cars on an additional deck (deck 7) [except on #3, #6, and #9].

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 Facilities

TBC, but likely:

  • Stena plus
  • Hygge Lounge
  • Met Grill
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Stena Shopping
  • Freight drivers lounge/restaurant
  • Guest Services
  • A choice of cabin accommodation.

TBC, but likely:

  • Stena plus
  • Hygge Lounge
  • Met Grill
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Stena Shopping
  • Freight drivers lounge/restaurant
  • Guest Services
  • A choice of cabin accommodation
  • Boutiques
  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Club lounge
  • A choice of cabins, including pet friendly cabins

TBC, but likely:

  • Stena plus
  • Hygge Lounge
  • Met Grill
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Stena Shopping
  • Freight drivers lounge/restaurant
  • Guest Services
  • A choice of cabin accommodation
Flag Cardiff (UK) Belfast (UK) Morlaix (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 and glazing by Saint-Gobain in France.

Table last updated: 8th August 2019

 

Class name Stena E-Flexer ( vessels 5-8)
Name CÔTE D’ OPALE SALAMANCA
IMO Number 9856189 9858321
Design Deltamarin 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 Management Stena roro logoDeltamarin logostena teknik logoDeltamarin and Stena RoRo with support from Stena Teknik.
Owner Stena roro logoStena RoRo
Operator

The new Brittany Ferries logo to be introduced in late 2018 and early 2019 across the business. Brittany Ferries Stena Line logo Stena Line logo
Building Yard AVIC logoAVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Hull Number W0268 W0269 W0270 W0271
Start of steel cutting 30.05.19      
Keel Laid
Completion and delivery 2021 2021 2022 2022
Certification

DNV GLClass: DNV GL Class 1C/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 design Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter (For Stena RoRo)
Unconfirmed Spanish designer
Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter Figura arkitekter logoFigura Arkitekter
Delivery and installation of public spaces, galleys, & cabins R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M  R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M R&M Rheinhold & Mahla logo R&M
In service 2021 2021 2022 2022
Likely Route

Dover – Calais

(Replacing CALAIS SEAWAYS(external link))

Portsmouth – Santander/Bilbao

(Replacing CAP FINISTERE(external link))

TBC TBC
Length overall (LPP) 214.5m (202m) 237.9m
Beam 27.8m
Draught 6.4m
Gross Tonnage 40,500 (approx – TBC) 42,400 45,000 (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 or 2 x MPP1410F controllable pitch propellers.
  • 2 x Wärtsilä Bow Thrusters (except COTE D’ OPALE)
  • 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 Speed 22 kts
Passenger Capacity 927 (approx.) 1200 (including crew)
Crew 73*
(* standard specification)
TBC
Cabins None 300
(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, #6, and #9].

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 200 cars on dedicated car deck (Deck 7)

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 Facilities TBC
  • Boutiques
  • Café
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Club lounge
  • A choice of cabins, including pet friendly cabins
N/A N/A
Flag TBC Morlaix? (France) N/A N/A
Other 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, and glazing by Saint-Gobain in France.

Notes: * The E-Flexer design can be built to either Ice Class 1A or 1C standards.  The majority of vessels are being built to ice class 1C. Yard number W0272 is not yet included in this table but is identical to W0269 and will be named SANTOÑA.

Table last updated: 8th August 2019

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 November 15, 2019

STENA ESTRID was delivered to Stena Line at a ceremony at the shipyard earlier today. With the first ship in the class delivered and this page having grown considerably in size, this page is being archived. Not only is it becoming hard to read due to the amount of content, but also hard to edit! A more concise page is currently under construction and will replace this page for new updates.

Stena Line's first E-Flexer STENA ESTRID at her delivery ceremony, 15.11.19. © Stena Line.
Stena Line’s first E-Flexer STENA ESTRID at her delivery ceremony, 15.11.19. © Stena Line.

Update October 14, 2019 – Stena Estrid to be Delivered Tomorrow

Shippax has confirmed earlier reports from China that STENA ESTRID will be delivered to Stena Line tomorrow.

Update October 29, 2019

Stena Line have officially announced that STENA ESTRID has successfully completed sea trials. She is expected to be delivered at the shipyard during November after which she will sail for her new home on the Irish Sea. This follows reports earlier in the month from China that sea trials were successfully complete.

STENA ESTRID on sea trials in the Yellow Sea. Stena Line
Leading ferry company Stena Line has announced that Stena Estrid, the first of its three new ferries destined for the Irish Sea, has successfully completed her sea trials in China’s Yellow Sea. Pictured here during the trials, the new vessel is now on schedule to start operating on the Dublin to Holyhead route in early 2020. Stena Estrid is the first of five new Stena Line next generation RoPax vessels that are being constructed at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China, three of which will be introduced on the company’s Irish Sea routes from Dublin to Holyhead and Belfast to Liverpool.

Stena Line’s CCO, Paul Grant, has stated;

“Today the first of our five next generation ferries achieved a very important milestone. Sea trials are a critical phased in a new ship’s development, as our first opportunity to take a new vessel out to sea, put her through her paces and test that she is up to the high standards required by Stena Line. We systematically go through all aspects of the new ship and I am pleased to say that Stena Estrid has successfully completed every trial. We now look forward to the full handover of the vessel by the shipyard and to starting her journey to the Irish Sea.”

Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson added;

“We strongly believe that our ferry business on the Irish Sea will continue to grow and it remains a key region for the company, as evidenced by our continued investment and the addition of three new vessels, underscoring Stena Line’s committment to our Irish Sea operations and our determination to deliver the best possible freight and travel experience to our customers. Stena Estrid will bring many benefits to our customers including speedy and efficient loading and unloading operations, plus further development of our Scandinavian-inspired facilities… This is a very exciting time for our business and I’m proud that as Europe’s largest ferry company, Stena Line continues to shape the industry for the next generation of freight and travel customers.”

Update October 1, 2019

There have been unconfirmed reports that Stena are in negotiations with Weihai shipyard to extend the E-Flexer class beyond the 11 units they have currently ordered or have options for. This could see the E-Flexer class become the largest ever class of ferries ordered by a single company, surpassing the 11 Stena Searunner units built by Hyundai in the late 1970’s.

Update September 22 2019

Baze Technology has announced that all of Stena’s E-Flexer ferries will be equipped with their Bazeport IPTV system in all passenger and crew cabins. In addition to Live TV, Video on Demand and Radio, the system will also be able to provide different information to different designated users.

Update September 11 2019

The first Brittany Ferries E-Flexer, GALICIA, was floated out yesterday.

Tugs assist Brittany Ferries GALICIA to the outfitting pier after she was floated out of the building dock at AVIC Weihai. AVIC.
Tugs assist Brittany Ferries GALICIA to the outfitting pier after she was floated out of the building dock at AVIC Weihai. AVIC.

Update September 8 2019

The first of Stena’s E-Flexer ferries, STENA ESTRID, left the AVIC Weihai shipyard on Thursday (5.09.19) for what appears to be the first of her sea trials. According to her data on VesselFinder.com she reached a speed of 22.8 kts, though she went out of range of radio AIS transponders at around 22:45 UK time on Thursday night.  By this stage she had travelled over 60 nautical miles from the shipyard. She returned to the shipyard on Friday after more than 24 hours at sea. STENA ESTRID is expected to enter service on the Dublin to Holyhead route early in 2020.  She is understood to be at an advanced stage of fitting out.

Update August 1 2019

The majority stake in the ownership of AVIC Wehai has transferred from AVIC Ship to fellow Chinese state-controlled concern China Merchants. This is not expected to impact on the delivery of the E-Flexer series and makes the Weihai shipyard part of a much larger ship-building group.

Stena Line's second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line's third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.
Stena Line’s second E-Flexer STENA EDDA seen during fitting out with Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer GALICIA and Stena Line’s third STENA EMBLA under construction in the building docks behind. Stena Line / AVIC Ship.

8th July 2019 – Brittany Ferries announces Name for their third E-Flexer

Earlier today, Brittany Ferries announced that their third E-flexer (and the second to be LNG powered) will be named SANTOÑA. She is expected to be delivered sometime during 2023.

Rendering of the stern of an E-Flexer built to Brittany Ferries specification. In this case the name GALICIA appears with a home port of Morlaix (France). Stena RoRo.
Rendering of the stern view of an E-Flexer built to Brittany Ferries specification. In this case the name GALICIA appears with a home port of Morlaix (France). Stena RoRo.

3rd June 2019 – Final cabin unit fitted to Stena Estrid and first lifted aboard Stena EDDA

The first cabin unit was lifted onboard STENA EDDA on the 25th of last month while the final unit was fitted to STENA ESTRID 7 days earlier. The milestone has been reached just 4 months after the dedicated cabin production facility was opened at the yard on January 16th. According to AVIC Weihai the fit-out on STENA ESTRID is going according to plan and schedule. The prefabricated cabins not only contain bulkheads (walls), decks (floors) and deckheads (ceilings), but are also already fitted with bathrooms, wooden furniture, and heating and ventilation ducting, as well as electrics and plumbing ready to be connected to the ship. Particularly impressive has been that since the first E-Flexer “kick-off” meeting just under three years ago on 20th June 2016, the yard has completely modernised its working and production methods to meet Northern European standards under the guidance of Stena, Reinhold and Mahla (the interior outfitter) and others all while building the vessels at the same time. While the vessels are being constructed in China components have been sourced from around the globe as well as locally, while a multinational design, production and management team has been assembled to work on the project alongside the Chinese.

A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to a Stena E-Flexer. Avic Weihai
A pre-fabricated cabin module is hoisted on to a Stena E-Flexer. Avic Weihai

30th May 2019 – Steel Cutting for the DFDS E-Flexer starts and name announced

Steel cutting for the DFDS E-Flexer started today. Meanwhile, it has been announced that the ship will be named CÔTE D’OPALE.

An artists impression of how COTE D'OPALE will look when in service with DFDS. DFDS
An artists impression of how COTE D’OPALE will look when in service with DFDS. DFDS

22nd May 2019 – Stena Embla confirmed as the name for E-Flexer number 4

Stena Line officially confirmed today that the name for their third Stena E-Flexer (the fourth to be built) will be STENA EMBLA, as previously reported on this page below. The keel for STENA EMBLA was laid on April 18 and she is expected in service in early 2021 when she will join STENA EDDA on the Belfast to Liverpool route.

The keel-laying of the fourth Stena E-Flexer (third for Stena Line) yard number W0266, to be named STENA EMBLA. Copyright © Stena Line.
The keel-laying of the fourth Stena E-Flexer (third for Stena Line) yard number W0266, to be named STENA EMBLA. Copyright © Stena Line.

Seperately Stena Line also released a video about the onboard experience on the Stena Line Stena E-flexer vessels.

Stena Line video about the experience onboard their new Stena E-Flexer ferries.

15th April 2019 – Introducing Stena Edda

Stena Line’s second E-Flexer STENA EDDA prior to being floated for the first time. Stena Line.
Stena Line’s second E-Flexer STENA EDDA prior to being floated for the first time. Stena Line.

The second Stena E-Flexer, STENA EDDA, was floated out at AVIC Weihai earlier today. She is the first of two examples for the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) route. It has been posted to Facebook by a reliable source that the second Belfast vessel will be named STENA EMBLA.

STENA EDDA is manoeuvred out of the building dock at AVIC Weihai following floating out on April 15th 2019. AVIC Ship.
STENA EDDA is manoeuvred out of the building dock at AVIC Weihai following floating out on April 15th 2019. AVIC Ship.

14th March 2019 – E-Flexer #2 to “launch” Tomorrow. Fitting out continues on Stena Estrid

Stena Line will stream the “launch” of E-Flexer number 2 live tomorrow morning at 7 am (CET). Fitting out continues onboard STENA ESTRID with the task of hoisting 239 pre-fabricated cabins onboard starting during March.

The first of 239 cabin units to be fitted to STENA ESTRID is hoisted onto the vessel. AVIC Weihai.
The first of 239 cabin units to be fitted to STENA ESTRID is hoisted onto the vessel. AVIC Weihai.

27th March 2019 – Brittany Ferries Confirm Third E-Flexer Order

Yesterday Brittany Ferries announced that they have agree to charter a third example of the Stena E-Flexer series with an option to purchase. Like SALAMANCA she will be LNG powered from the outset. She is currently expected to be in service sometime in 2023. This means there are now a total of nine E-Flexer vessels on order from AVIC Weihai.

An artists impression of how a Brittany Ferries Stena E-Flexer class ferry might look at Portsmouth. Brittany Ferries
An artists impression of how a Brittany Ferries Stena E-Flexer class ferry might look at Portsmouth. Brittany Ferries

16th January 2019 – Introducing Stena Estrid!

The first Stena E-Flexer, STENA ESTRID, prepares to leave the building dock at AVIC Weihai. Stena Ab / AVIC Weihai.
The first Stena E-Flexer, STENA ESTRID, prepares to leave the building dock at AVIC Weihai, 16.01.19. The second vessel, STENA EDDA can be seen under construction in the background. Stena Ab / AVIC Ship.

The first E-Flexer was floated out this morning as planned and is named STENA ESTRID.

15th January 2019

Tomorrow marks an important milestone in the E-Flexer project for Stena and AVIC Weihai, with the first vessel due to be floated out at AVIC Weihai tomorrow morning. Stena Line has announced that they will be broadcasting the “launch” live from China via their LinkedIn page from 07:30 CET (06:30 GMT).

Since our last update the vessel has been painted and the last of the portholes (delivered from France!) installed. This is despite the seasonal winter weather in Shandong province which has meant the vessel has been painted in heavy winds and even snow! Shippax paid a visit to the ship last month to check on progress and got a little peek at what she will look at inside. The as-yet-unnamed vessel has been allocated the yard number W0263.

Painting underway on Stena's first E-Flexer, W0263, at AVIC Weihai. Note the snow in the foreground! AVIC Weihai
Painting underway on Stena’s first E-Flexer, W0263, at AVIC Weihai. Note the snow in the foreground! AVIC Weihai

Tomorrow should also see the keel laying of the first of the vessels to be chartered out, W0267, which has been earmarked for Brittany Ferries and will be named GALICIA.  The construction of the first vessel earmarked for Belfast, W0264, is already well underway while steel cutting and thus module production for the second, W0266, began in November. A total of eight E-Flexer vessels are on order, with two being chartered out to Brittany Ferries and another to DFDS.

Update 27th November 2018

Stena Line has announced that all three Irish Sea E-Flexer’s are now under construction.  The start of steel cutting for the third, W0266, took place on the 15th of October.

The steel cutting ceremony on October 15th 2016 at AVIC Weihai for Stena's third Irish Sea E-Flexer W0266. Stena Line
The steel cutting ceremony on October 15th 2016 at AVIC Weihai for Stena’s third Irish Sea E-Flexer W0266. Stena Line

As reported below, the final block of the first vessel has been lifted in to place and she is now “steel ready”.  The process of fitting out the vessel with the required cabling and pipework is underway, as is the installation of propellers followed by the rudders, ramps and the insertion of windows.  It is expected that the vessel will first float in January after which she will be fully fitted out in advance of her delivery.  This will also allow the assembly of the next vessel in the series to commence.

A Stena Line time-lapse showing the first Stena E-Flexer being assembled to “steel ready”. Stena Line

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 fire at sea, a full propulsion failure, and tested all backup systems.  

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. AVIC Weihai.

Over 1000 individual tests were conducted.  AVIC Weihai expects to deliver NEW GRAND PEACE to her owner at the end of this month, and she should be in service between China and South Korea before the end of the year.  The next vessel to be delivered from the yard will be the first of the Stena E-Flexer’s.

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.

NIFS understands that a 2-day conference was held at AVIC Weihai during September to launch the project to develop and build the second Brittany Ferries example which will be the only E-Flexer to-date to be ordered as a dual-fuel vessel.  Amongst the speakers was Frédéric Pouget (Fleet & Ops Director Brittany Ferries).  

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 Weihai.

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 has 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.

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 specialises 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 is 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 GALICIA 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 at the time of the DFDS order announcement. 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 the 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. Image: Stena Line/DFDS edited by niferrysite.

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

Update 5th February 2018

Stena Line has 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 2017. 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 2017. 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 has stated that 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 be 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 VENTI she 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 of 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 has 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.

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: 01.08.19
Rebuild for WordPress Gutenberg format: 16.10.18

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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