Update 22.09.19 19:55: Relief vessel STENA NORDICA has continued in service, operating the 18:10 ex Rosslare. STENA EUROPE remains alongside at Rosslare, so it is highly unlikely she will sail from Fishguard tonight as is currently stated by the Stena Line booking engine. Online speculation suggests her return to service may be with tomorrow evenings sailing from Rosslare.
Update 22.09.19 AM: Stena Line’s booking engine now has STENA EUROPE operating this evenings 18:10 sailing from Rosslare and the return service from Fishguard. The Stena Line Freight live timetable, however, still has her return as Tuesday September 24.
Update 21.09.19 PM: STENA EUROPE arrived back at Rosslare this evening. The Stena Line Freight timetable still has her listed as returning on Tuesday, however, online speculation suggests her actual return to service could be as early as tomorrow.
Stena Line’s Rosslare – Fishguard ferry STENA EUROPE left Liverpool this morning for Rosslare, signalling what appears to be the end of a lengthy life-extending refit. The veteran ferry has been absent from her route for around six months, with STENA NORDICA providing cover.
The Stena Line ‘live’ freight timetable currently indicates that STENA EUROPE will return to service this Tuesday, September 24. It is understood, however, that a return to service may occur earlier than this if all goes according to plan. Once STENA EUROPE returns to service, STENA NORDICA will be released and so will be able to return to her normal route between Poland and Sweden.
During her absence of around six months it is understood that STENA EUROPE underwent mostly technical work in order to extend her life by up to 10 or 15 years. Her hull was stripped back to bare metal, while much of the glazing and pipework was replaced as well. In addition to a mechanical overhaul, the free height was raised on her main vehicle deck so that 4.65m high trailers can be carried across the deck rather than on just one side.
A modern MES (Marine Evacuation System) has been installed as well, replacing the rafts and derricks previously carried on the vessel. Some interior refurbishment is also believed to have taken place, though given that the passenger spaces were already in good condition, this is believed to have been limited in nature.
The refit had originally been expected to take three months, but unforeseen problems uncovered during the refit meant this was extended. The bulk of the work was undertaken in Turkey at Gemak Shipyard Group’s Tuzla Facility. Some finishing touches have subsequently been applied alongside at Gladstone Dock in Liverpool over the past week, including some further technical work.