Ferry company Stena Line has confirmed that it took delivery of STENA EMBLA earlier today. The ship was handed over at her builders yard in China at 15:08 (Chinese Standard Time), 369 days after the delivery of STENA ESTRID from the same yard. STENA EMBLA is expected to replace STENA MERSEY early in 2021.
STENA EMBLA is the fourth ferry to be delivered to a Stena company by China Merchants Jinling Weihai in the past 12 months. In addition to STENA ESTRID, STENA EDDA and GALICIA were delivered earlier this year. The latter has been chartered to Brittany Ferries from Stena RoRo. She is expected to enter service next month between Santander and Portsmouth.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, all members of the E-Flexer class so far have been delivered on or ahead of their contract delivery dates. Stena’s ship acquisition and chartering division Stena RoRo has overseen the ordering and construction of all nine E-Flexer vessels ordered to date. A total of five of these will be delivered to Stena’s ferry operator Stena Line.
Although of the same Stena E-Flexer class as the other ships delivered to Stena by the yard, STENA EMBLA is the first to be built to Ice Class 1A. This is to give Stena more flexibility in the future should they chose to charter her out or relocate her. This is quite a common practice in the ferry industry irrespective of initial deployment. Ships such as Irish Ferries W.B. YEATS and ULYSSES are also built to Ice Class 1A standards.
She also differs, at least initially, from operating-mate STENA EDDA with smaller windows forward. This modification was also applied to the design of GALICIA as a result of experience with STENA ESTRID and STENA EDDA.
At present, STENA EMBLA‘s port of registry is Liverpool, but this is expected to change in the coming days to Limassol. This is in-line with the Stena Line policy of registering new ships within the EU. Once she enters service on the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route in the new year, STENA MERSEY will sail for Turkey. There, she will be rebuilt like sister-ship STENA LAGAN before joining her on the Nynashamn (Norvik) – Ventspils route.
Cote d’Opale and Salamanca update
Separately, work continues on Brittany Ferries SALAMANCA. Her hull is now complete and it is expected that she could be floated out before the end of the year. Over two thirds of her 58 blocks have already been lifted into place. SALAMANCA is the first E-Flexer to be fuelled by LNG, and like GALICA will be chartered to Brittany Ferries on completion. GALICIA is currently undertaking trials and crew familiarisation. Her port of registry was changed to Morlaix during a dry-docking at Astander, Santander.
The next E-Flexer to be delivered will be COTE D’ OPALE which will be chartered to DFDS for its Dover to Calais route. She is understood to be on schedule for delivery in June 2021.
COTE D’ OPALE is currently being fitted out at Weihai.