[New Build] An overview of the Stena E-Flexer class

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 article is a brief overview of the Stena E-Flexer class of RoPax vessels.  A more in-depth look at the class with archived updates is available here.  On Tuesday November 27th Stena Line announced that all three Stena Line vessels destined for Irish Sea services are now under construction.

What is Stena E-Flexer?

Stena E-Flexer is a series of up to 12 new passenger and vehicle RoPax ferries ordered by Stena RoRo from the AVIC Weihai shipyard in China.  As the name suggests, the E-Flexer class have been designed to be flexible as well as efficient.  The series will feature a new unique hull shape developed by Stena and Deltamarin, with the bow shaped to reduce resistance including around the openings for the thrusters, and the stern shaped to reduce wave making.  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 each vessel 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.

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.

Examples ordered to date

A total of 8 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 two vessels for long-haul services between England and Spain.  These will be named GALICIA and SALAMANCA (external link). The remaining example 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.

VesselYard NumberOperatorEstimated deliveryPlanned RouteName
1W0263Stena Line logoStena LineLate 2019/Early 2020 Holyhead – Dublin *
2W0264Stena Line logoStena LineSpring 2020Belfast – Birkenhead *
3W0267Brittany FerriesAutumn 2020Portsmouth – Le Havre/Bilbao/SantanderPortsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
(replacing BAIE DE SEINE (external link) and CAP FINISTERE (external link))
GALICIA
4W0266Stena Line logoStena LineEarly 2021Belfast – Birkenhead *
5TBCDFDS2021Dover – Calais
(Replacing CALAIS SEAWAYS (external link))
6W0269Brittany Ferries2021Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander
(Replacing CAP FINISTERE (external link))
SALAMANCA
7TBC ^Stena Line logoStena Line2022TBC
8TBC ^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 (currently STENA PRECISION)).
^ #7 & #8 announced on 18.07.18.  These are a 239.7m long extended version with 3600lm and 263 cabins.
Rendering of Brittany Ferries' Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.
Rendering of Brittany Ferries’ Stena E-Flexer class vessels. Brittany Ferries.

Contractors Involved

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.  Suppliers from Europe are heavily involved in the project, even though the vessels are being built in China.  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 via their Scandinavian dealer Pon Power.  Brittany Ferries will be engaging Spanish architects to customise the passenger spaces of their two vessels, while DFDS are working on their own layout for their vessel.

Differing Configurations

Stena RoRo themselves and Finland’s Deltamarin are supervising the project.  Deltamarin are also the consulting naval architect on the project.  The original E-Flexer design has 175 cabins.  This has been increased to around 300 (plus 36 freight driver cabins) on the two Brittany Ferries examples by replacing the dedicated car deck with passenger spaces.  The lengthened Stena Line examples are to have 263 cabins.  The DFDS example is expected to not have any passenger cabins due to the short nature of the 90 minute Dover – Calais crossing she is being built for.

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

Deployment Information

 On 8/06/18 Stena Line confirmed which routes their first 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 of the vessels currently on the route – STENA LAGAN, STENA MERSEY, and STENA PRECISION).  Brittany Ferries will deploy their two examples 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.  The keel for the second vessel was laid on 15.06.2018.  Stena have yet to announce where they intend for the lengthened examples to operate.

Key technical information

A more detailed technical specification of the individual vessels is available on the main Stena E-Flexer page here.

Side profile drawing of the newly ordered Stena Ro-pax ferries to be built by AVIC Weihai in China. Image: Stena Line
Original side profile drawing released by Stena of the Stena E-Flexer RoPax ferries being built by AVIC Weihai in China. Image: Stena Line
Class nameStena E-Flexer
(standard – 215m)
Stena E-Flexer
(lengthened – 240m)
DesignStena AB / Deltamarin
Construction YardAVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Vessel OwnerStena RoRo
Vessel OperatorsStena Line (3), Brittany Ferries (2), DFDS (1)Stena Line (2)
DeliveryLate 2019 – 20212022
Length214.5m239.7m
Breadth27.8m
Draught6.4m
Gross TonnageApprox 40,500Approx 45,000
Total number of decks10
Number of passenger decks3
Design Speed22 knots22 knots (?)
Passenger Capacity (including crew)10001200
Freight Capacity3100 lane metres3600 lane metres
Capacity of dedicated passenger vehicle and small van deck
(not included on the  Brittany Ferries examples)
120300 (rumoured – not officially confirmed)
The signing ceremony for the contract between Stena and AVIC Weihai for the construction of 4 RoPax ferries. AVIC
The signing ceremony for the original contract between Stena and AVIC Weihai for the construction of 4 (with options for a further 4) RoPax ferries. AVIC

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

Original Article: 31.05.18 @ 08:15
Last Updated: 27.11.18

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