Profile of the Stena Line passenger and vehicle RoPax ferry STENA NORDICA. Includes an overview of her history, technical data, and photographs (inside and out). STENA NORDICA normally operates in the Baltic Sea. She is P&O's former EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and DFDS's former MALO SEAWAYS.

IMO Number: 9215505

Constructed by: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki [JP] #1068


STENA NORDICA arriving at Dublin. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.

Photo: STENA NORDICA arriving at Dublin. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.

Stena Nordica Overview

The Stena Line RoPax Ferry STENA NORDICA is a part-sister to P&O Ferries’ Japanese built Larne to Cairnryan ships EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER.  She was built as the EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR for P&O’s Dublin-Liverpool and (now closed) Dublin-Mostyn routes, and is a slightly bigger version of EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY with passenger cabins, whereas the Larne vessel has none.  EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR became a Stena ship in a transaction related to, but not part of, the Stena acquisition of P&O Irish Sea’s Fleetwood-Larne operation in 2004.  This was as she was no longer required by P&O following the closure of the Mostyn route, which along with Liverpool – Dublin, P&O were prevented from selling to Stena by the UK competition authorities.

EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR pictured in Liverpool on arrival from her builders in Japan. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.

STENA NORDICA was originally redeployed to the Baltic (Karlskrona – Gdynia route) and received an extensive Stena refit (which included modifications to improve loading and unloading) before being transferred to the Swedish flag.  She returned to Dublin in 2008 to run opposite STENA ADVENTURER to Holyhead in place of the STENA SEATRADER, following a successful stint earlier in the year as refit relief vessel on the route.  The following year she received a further £2m refit to bring her into line with the rest of Stena Line’s Irish Sea fleet.

STENA NORDICA at Dublin. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.

Over the years STENA NORDICA has proved herself a very versatile ship, having operated to Liverpool, Mostyn, Cherbourg and Holyhead from Dublin, between Belfast and Cairnryan and Rosslare to Fishguard as a relief vessel for Stena, and also between Karlskrona and Gdynia as mentioned above.  In addition she also served the Dover -Calais route for DFDS as MALO SEAWAYS and operated in the Mediterranean for GNV.

Stena Nordica in 2014. Copyright © David Rimmer.
Stena Nordica in 2014. Copyright © David Rimmer.

STENA NORDICA provided refit cover on the Belfast – Cairnryan (Loch Ryan Port) route in 2013, thus competing with her part-sister ships operating for P&O.  Like Stena’s other Irish Sea ships, Stena Nordica has also been a visitor to Harland and Wolff for refits.  It had been widely expected that STENA NORDICA would return to Belfast to provide cover for STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII in March 2015 whilst they were dry docked.  However during January 2015 DFDS announced that they had agreed to charter Stena Nordica from Stena RoRo for a period of 18 months to operate their Dover-Calais service as MALO SEAWAYS, filling the role previously undertaken by DIEPPE SEAWAYS (now Stena Superfast X) before she left DFDS for conversion to replace Stena Nordica at Dublin.

Following DFDS’s acquisition of the former RODIN and BERLIOZ on charter from Groupe Eurotunnel, MALO SEAWAYS became surplus to requirements, and her charter was terminated early following rumoured technical problems.  It was not clear where STENA NORDICA would next operate at this stage, however a charter to the Mediterranean had been touted in the Italian shipping press.

Following the conclusion of her DFDS charter, MALO SEAWAYS was again renamed STENA NORDICA and was chartered to Mediterranean operator GNV for summer 2016.  When that charter finished, STENA NORDICA returned to Stena Line to operate the Travemünde – Liepaja Baltic sea service between Germany and Latvia opposite veteran ferry URD. However, STENA NORDICA made a brief return to British and Irish waters in early 2017 as the designated refit relief ship until April 2017.  Stena Nordica provided cover for 6 RoPax vessels in total, including releasing STENA HORIZON from the Rosslare – Cherbourg route so she could herself release near-sisters STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY for their dry docking’s, and the ship which replaced her on the Dublin – Holyhead route STENA SUPERFAST X.  After again relieving STENA SUPERFAST VIII and STENA SUPERFAST VII she then returned back to her new ‘home’ route in the Baltic.


Stena Nordica in Dublin on 27/12/16. She is the Stena Line Irish Sea refit relief vessel this year. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.
Stena Nordica in Dublin on 27/12/16. She is the Stena Line Irish Sea refit relief vessel this year (2017). Copyright © Gordon Hislip.

A Look Inside (Interior Gallery)


Technical Information


IMO Number9215505
DesignKnud E Hansen A/S
Building YardMitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki, Japan
Hull Number1068
Year Completed2000
In service8/1/01 (P&O)11/6/04 (Stena)
Call signC6RG8/2BXO2 (current)
Length overall170m
Gross Tonnage24,206
  • Main Engines : 2 x Wartsila 12V38 (wings) & 2 x Wartsila 18V38(centre).
  • Auxiliary Engines: 2 x Daihatsu 6DK-28 (1,900kW each @750 rpm).
  • Bow Thrusters: 2 x Kawasaki (1.260kW each).
  • Engine power is geared in pairs to twin 4-bladed controllable pitch propellers.
Power(Max/Pme  @ 75%)39680kW/29700kW
Operational speed25.7 Knots
  • 447 passengers max
    (This has been limited to between 380 and 410 passengers in service, depending on operator)
  • 1949 lane metres of freight – 122 trailers or 375 cars or a combination of both
Crew 45


EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR pictured at Rosslare where she operated sailings to France. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.


Stena Nordica. Copyright © Scott Mackey 2017.
STENA NORDICA arriving at Belfast from Cairnryan on her first day covering for the refit of STENA SUPERFAST VIII. Copyright © Scott Mackey 2017.


Stena Nordica in Belfast Lough. © 2015 Steven Tarbox
Stena Nordica in Belfast Lough. © 2015 Steven Tarbox


STENA NORDICA approaches Belfast on 13/03/15 while on refit relief duty. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
STENA NORDICA approaches Belfast on 13/03/15 while on refit relief duty. Copyright © Steven Tarbox


Stena Nordica. Copyright © Scott Mackey
STENA NORDICA. Copyright © Scott Mackey


STENA NORDICA arriving at Dublin. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.



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.

Stena E-Flexer – Stena’s new class of RoPax ferries.

The leading independent resource on the internet for Stena’s next generation of RoPax ferry, the Chinese built Stena E-Flexer class. Includes technical info and regular updates (including pictures) on the construction of the new vessels including those for Stena Line, Brittany Ferries, and DFDS.

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