The Construction of Stena E-Flexer Number 1 So-far, in Pictures and Video

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

UPDATE 07.12.18:  E-Flexer #1, hull W0263, is expected to be floated out of dock number 1 on the 16th January 2019.  On the same day the yard expect to lay the first keel block of W0267 in the space vacated by W0263. This will be the first vessel for Brittany Ferries, GALICIA.

With the announcement yesterday that all three of Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ferries for Irish Sea services are now under construction, NI Ferry Site takes a pictorial look at the build of the first vessel (W0263) so-far.  All images are Copyright of AVIC or Stena unless otherwise stated.

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

On Friday 25th August 2017, a ‘steel cutting ceremony’ was held at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China to mark the start of the construction of the first of four RoPax vessels ordered by Stena.  The vessels have a planned delivery timetable during 2019 and 2020 with Stena having an option on a further four vessels as part of the overall contract.  © Stena Line

On Friday 25th August 2017, a ‘steel cutting ceremony’ was held at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China to mark the start of the construction of what was then the first of four RoPax vessels ordered by Stena. AVIC

Steel cutting gets underway for Stena's E-Flexer class at AVIC Weihai. AVIC

Steel cutting gets underway for the first of Stena’s E-Flexer class at AVIC Weihai. AVIC

Keel Laying

On the 2nd of February 2018, the first keel block was laid.  This was marked with a traditional keel laying ceremony, complete with Chinese “dragons”.

Stena E-Flexer keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line
Stena E-Flexer #1 keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line
Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line, together with Magnus Olsson, Project Manager Stena RoRo, about to place the coin under the keel. Stena Line
Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line, together with Magnus Olsson, Project Manager Stena RoRo, about to place the coin under the keel. Stena Line
Stena E-Flexer keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line
Stena E-Flexer keel laying ceremony at AVIC Weihai. Stena Line

Block Assembly 

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

ON SCHEDULE:  Ferry company Stena Line has reached an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the steel cutting of a third E-Flexer ship to be deployed on its Irish Sea routes.  This means that all three of Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ships, planned to enter into service on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021, are now under construction at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China.  The first of the new vessels (pictured) will commence operation on the Holyhead to Dublin route in early 2020, with the remaining two ships to be introduced on the Liverpool to Belfast route in 2020 and 2021.  All three Irish Sea E-Flexer vessels will be bigger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.
ON SCHEDULE: Ferry company Stena Line has reached an important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the steel cutting of a third E-Flexer ship to be deployed on its Irish Sea routes. This means that all three of Stena Line’s new E-Flexer ships, planned to enter into service on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021, are now under construction at the Avic Weihai Shipyard in China. The first of the new vessels (pictured) will commence operation on the Holyhead to Dublin route in early 2020, with the remaining two ships to be introduced on the Liverpool to Belfast route in 2020 and 2021. All three Irish Sea E-Flexer vessels will be bigger than today’s standard RoPax vessels at 215 meters long with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters and the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers.
Stena Line EFlexer #1 is steel ready at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China.  © Stena RoRo.
Stena Line EFlexer #1 is steel ready at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China. © Stena RoRo.

What the finished Vessel will look Like

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.

Time-lapse of the process so-far

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

What happens next?

Now that the first vessel is at the “steel ready” stage, she will next be fitted out with her propellers and rudders, vehicle ramps, windows, and any remaining cabling, pipework, or machinery.  She is expected to be floated out in January after which she will be fitted out.  The as-yet unnamed vessel is expected to enter service between Dublin and Holyhead in the first half of 2020, replacing STENA SUPERFAST X.  Later that year a second example, which is also currently under construction, will enter service on the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route.  She will displace one of the current passenger vessels.  A second vessel for the Belfast – Liverpool route is expected to follow in 2021, replacing the remaining current passenger vessel.  

For more information on the Stena E-Flexer class please see the overview page on NI Ferry Site here or the detailed updates page here.

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