Stena’s next generation of RoPax ferries for Northern European service.
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 would appear to indicate that only 2 of the class will now be based in Belfast. 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).
It is important to note that any suggested routes for the vessels, here or elsewhere, are just speculation, and no official announcement has yet been made by Stena on the specific routes the E-Flexer class will be deployed on.
Brittany Ferries have however confirmed that the example they are chartering will be deployed on the Portsmouth – Le Havre and Portsmouth – Bilbao/Santander route.
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 has been confirmed that Stena have the option to increase this to 8. It is
thought confirmed that this option is for 2 + 2 vessels rather than 4.
Deltamarin will also provide a comprehensive engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) package, overseeing the construction of the new vessels in China alongside Stena RoRo and Stena Technik. 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 Technik specialise in providing marine technical solutions and particularly the design of new build projects from initial concept to completion. Perhaps the most famous Stena Technik project is the Stena HSS 1500.
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.
AVIC Weihai are currently constructing a 2160lm 880 passenger RoPax for delivery in early 2018 called NEW GRAND PLACE (Yard Number WO229) 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 China and South Korea.
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.
This page will be updated below as more details become available.
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.
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 YEATS, ULYSSES, 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.
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.
On 5th December AVIC Weihai launched the 2500lm RoRo (yard dumber WO247) 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 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.”
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.
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.
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.
Steel cutting began yesterday for the first of the four vessels (yard number WO263) 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.
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.
Deltamarin / Stena
Ordered by Stena RoRo in March 2016.
Contract for 4 initial vessels with options for a further 2 + 2.
Deltamarin and Stena Roro with support from Stena Technik.
AVIC Weihai, Shandong Province, China
Completion and delivery
Class: 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)
In service (Stena Line)
Late 2019-2020 approx
Dublin – Holyhead
Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead)*
Nynäshamn to Ventspils*
Portsmouth – Le Havre
Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead)*
Nynäshamn to Ventspils*
42,000GT (Rumoured – TBC)
Number of decks
Power(Max/Pme @ 75%)
3100 lane metres (on 3 decks) plus 120 cars on an additional deck.
Twin-level drive through loading configuration with bow and stern doors and internal ramps.
Table last updated: 9th December 2017
The above article is Copyright © Steven Tarbox, all rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction or distribution is strictly prohibited.
Original article published 21/122017
moved to ‘New-Build’ section: 27/08/17
last updated: 14/01/18