A Brief Introduction to Kerry
Brittany Ferries KERRY, which until recently sailed under the charter name AF MICHELA between Italy and Albania, is a Visentini-built Ro-Pax ferry owned by Stena RoRo. During October 2019, she was renamed KERRY for a charter to Brittany Ferries. From 31st October 2019 she served the route between Santander and Cork in place of CONNEMARA. She also offered a single round trip on the seasonal Cork – Roscoff route between March and October 2020.
From February 28 2020, KERRY will sail from Rosslare instead of Cork. She will sail to Bilbao (instead of Santander) and Roscoff in place of her services from Cork which will close. The seasonal sailings offered by PONT AVEN between Roscoff and Cork are unaffected by this change.
KERRY was completed in 2001 as CARTOUR, She was the fourth of four similar ships developed from the design of MERSEY VIKING (i) with additional passenger accommodation. Her original operator was Caronte & Tourist who used her on their route across the Strait of Messina.
Service in Asia
CARTOUR was sold in 2017 to a Vietnamese state-owned ferry company for a service in Vietnam as HOA SEN. Following poor performance of her route which introduced a new concept to Vietnam and financial difficulties at her new owner, she was chartered out for new service between China and Korea after a period of layup.
Stena RoRo purchased HOA SEN in late 2013 after a further period of extended layup following the termination of her charter due to a breach of contract as a result of the ship becoming unavailable to the charterer. Stena RoRo had HOA SEN towed to a shipyard in China where she was comprehensively refurbished and overhauled. During 2014 she was chartered to another Chinese operator for service between China and Korea as STENA EGERIA.
Return to Europe
During summer 2017, STENA EGERIA became available for charter again, and it wasn’t long before Adria Ferries agreed to charter her for a year for service between Albania and Italy. After further refurbishment and some technical work she entered service as AF MICHELA, with the charter later extended to 2019.
After Adria Ferries acquired her as-built sister-ship CALIFORNIA STAR (now AF CLAUDIA) during 2019, they decided not to renew the charter of AF MICHELA. Brittany Ferries was in search of a vessel with which to add capacity to their network with flagship PONT AVEN expected to be out of service for three months, and negotiated a one year charter of AF MICHELA starting November 2019.
Ireland to Spain/France
Renamed KERRY, she replaced CONNEMARA (also chartered from Stena RoRo) on the routes from Cork to Spain and France. CONNEMARA was used to add capacity elsewhere in the Brittany Ferries network, for instance allowing PONT AVEN to be covered as well as planned fleet maintenance. Like her predecessor, KERRY operates as an “Economie” ship with reduced facilities compared to other vessels in the Brittany Ferries fleet such as PONT AVEN. Unlike many other vessels operating to Ireland, KERRY is fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers to reduce her sulphur emissions.
Towards the end of January 2020, Brittany Ferries confirmed speculation that they would be switching KERRY‘s Irish port from Cork to Rosslare from March. The switch to Rosslare would also coincide with a change of Spanish port to Bilbao. The change of both ports was in response to feedback from freight customers according to Brittany Ferries. On March 4, 2020, KERRY left Rosslare for Spain for the first time.
For a more detailed history of KERRY please see “A Brief History of Stena Egeria/Kerry” below.
Current Name (Brittany Ferries)
Santander [ES] – Cork [IE]
Roscoff [FR] – Cork [IE] (seasonal)
(From 28.02.2020, KERRY will sail from Rosslare – Bilbao)
Cantiere Navale di Visentini Francesco & C., Donada, Italy
NAOS Ship and Boat Design S.R.L, Trieste, Italy
Interior Design (Original)
RINA C ro-ro Passenger ship (since 29.05.14)
AUT-IMS AUT-PORT AUT-UMS ICE CLASS 1D
Length Overall (Between Perpendiculars)
2x MAN B&W 9L 48/60 Marine Diesel Engines
3 x 1,360 kw Diesel Generators
2 x 4.8m diameter LIPS controllable pitch propellers
Exhaust gas scrubbers
Total Main Engine Power
Original design capacity is for 1,000 passengers, but this is limited to 350 in service
Overnight Accommodation / Cabins
(Cots suitable for infants up to 24 months can be provided)
KERRY is on charter from Stena RoRo to replace CONNEMARA on the Cork – Spain and seasonal Cork – France routes. Stena Marine Management provide her crew as part of the charter agreement. She is the former AF MICHELA / STENA EGERIA / HOA SEN / VINASHIN PRINCE / CARTOUR.
Stena Egeria / Kerry History in More Detail
KERRY was delivered during 2001 to Levantina Trasporti Srl as CARTOUR for charter to Caronte & Tourist. Llike her building yard Levantina Trasporti is controlled by the Visentini family. She is the seventh in a series of Ro-Pax ferries of similar design, designed by NAOS Design and built by Cantiere Navale Visentini. The first ship in the series was the original MERSEY VIKING (currently operating in New Zealand as STRAIT FERONIA).
Towards the end of 2007 CARTOUR was sold to the Vietnamese state-controlled operator Vinashin Ocean Shipping for €60m, having become surplus to requirements at Caronte & Tourist. Caronte & Tourist had chartered Moby Line’s larger Visentini Ro-Pax MARIA GRAZIA ON (currently Transmediterranea’s CIUDAD DE CADIZ), and had also received CARTOUR GAMMA (now Grimaldi’s CORFÙ) direct from Visentini at the end of 2006. CARTOUR was initially renamed VINASHIN PRINCE before her name was changed to HOA SEN for a service along the coast of Vietnam linking Ho Chi Minh City in the south, via a short stop in Chan May, to Cai Lan in North of the Country.
The new service was short-lived, however, due to financial problems amid corruption investigations at Vinashin. Ultimately this culminated in the company going bankrupt, and its assets were taken over by another state controlled company, Vinalines. At least 9 Vinashin executives were imprisoned having been found guilty of corruption while running the company, with some going on the run after its collapse. HOA SEN herself was partially responsible for the financial problems and was arrested during December 2008, apparently due to cracks in her hull, having racked up losses of some $22.5m and having made only 39 trips.
China to Korea
After she was released from arrest for repairs to be made, HOA SEN went the Hyundai-Vinashin Shipyard in Khanh Hoa from January until April 2009. She was then anchored nearby in Cam Ranh bay from April 2009 until February 14th 2011 when she left for a charter to the Chinese-South Korean joint-venture Lianyungang CK Ferry Co. The charter was for an initial evaluation period of six months, later to be converted to a two year bareboat charter, for a service linking the Chinese port of Lianyungang with South Korea. This charter was also short-lived as HOA SEN was detained in Korea just three months into the charter due to unpaid debts owed by Vinashin to a Singapore based company.
The detention in Korea resulted in the termination of the charter contract due to breach of contract, meaning Vinashin needed to find another charterer or buyer for the vessel. HOA SEN was continuing to cost them money in wages, insurance, maintenance, berthing fees, and depreciation. After an undisclosed financial settlement was reached, HOA SEN was released and moved to a port in China to be moored while her future was sorted out. It has been suggested in the Vietnamese media that not only had Vinashin chartered out the vessel to Lianyungang CK Ferry cheap, but that the payments didn’t even cover the repayments on the debt owed on the vessel!
Stena RoRo Purchase Hoa Sen
In late 2013, Stena RoRo acquired HOA SEN after the outright sale of the vessel was finally approved by the Vietnamese government. By then she was said to have been in poor condition cosmetically but “acceptable” condition mechanically. Earlier during 2013, her Vietnamese crew had been reported to be living in poor conditions and without pay. HOA SEN was towed to the Chengxi Shipyard in China for a comprehensive refit/rebuild which involved adding around 140 tons of steel to her hull, fully refurbishing her accommodation, and a thorough technical overhaul. She emerged from the yard in full Stena RoRo livery as STENA EGERIA.
This was the first time Stena had refurbished a passenger vessel in China and it was the first project managed from the then new Stena RoRo office in Shanghai. During May 2014 it was announced that Stena RoRo had chartered STENA EGERIA to Yantai Bohai Ferry for a service between Yantai (China) and Pyeongtaek (South Korea), an arrangement which ended in mid-2017.
Return to Southern Europe
STENA EGERIA arrived in Perama (Greece) on August 12th 2017 for further interior upgrade work and maintenance. It was reported by the Greek newspaper Elleniki Aktoploia in early October that STENA EGERIA would be chartered to Adria Ferries. This was for an initial period of one year to operate between Italy and Albania in place of BRIDGE (now DUBA BRIDGE) which had been sold by her owners for Red Sea service. This charter arrangement was subsequently extended until 2019.
Having been upgraded to her new operators requirements, STENA EGERIA was renamed AF MICHELA and painted in full Adria Ferries livery before commencing service on their Durres – Ancona/Trieste service during October ’17. She sailed for Adria Ferries with a passenger capacity limited to 350 despite being built to accommodate up to 1000.
Replacement and Charter to Brittany Ferries
AF MICHELA has one direct as-built sister-ship, the former CALIFORNIA STAR (ex STENA FORWARDER), which was purchased during Autumn 2018 by Adria Ferries for US $45m. CALIFORNIA STAR was renamed AF CLAUDIA and will replace AF MICHELA in Adria Ferries fleet. During June 2019 it was revealed that Brittany Ferries were in discussions to charter AF MICHELA from Stena RoRo as a replacement for CONNEMARA on their Cork routes. This was so the latter could provide cover on the core UK to France and Spain routes which required additional capacity with PONT AVEN expected to be absent for three months for repairs, and the delivery delays to HONFLEUR.
It had previously been reported that La Méridionale had wanted to purchase AF MICHELA from Stena RoRo but that she was not available. AF MICHELA was to be chartered to Brittany Ferries from owners Stena RoRo for a period of one year running from November 2019, and would operate on the Cork to Santander route. In the meantime her replacement AF CLAUDIA was chartered to Grimaldi Lines until required.
On Monday 8th July 2019, Brittany Ferries confirmed that AF MICHELA will be renamed KERRY when she joins the company. La Méridionale subsequently purchased a different Visentini-built Ro-Pax, the older LIVERPOOL SEAWAYS (ex LAGAN VIKING (i)), instead.
Following the conclusion of her charter to Grimaldi Lines, AF CLAUDIA arrived at Rijeka (Croatia) on September 21st to be made more suitable for Adria Ferries use. She was later joined by AF MICHELA on October 1st, with the latter vessel handed back to Stena RoRo in Rijeka during the same week. Prior to her handover, KERRY was fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers at Rijeka. It is not yet clear whether there will be any enhancements made to the passenger accommodation prior to the charter to Brittany Ferries. On October 31st 2019, KERRY took over from CONNEMARA after the latter vessel arrived in Santander from Cork.
- KERRY‘s former name HOA SEN means Lotus in Vietnamese.