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Stena Nordica | Stena Line

Stena Nordica swings of the berth at Belfast VT4N as she starts another crossing to Cairnryan. She was covering for STENA SUPERFAST VIII which was in Belfast Dry Dock for routine maintenance. March 9th 2019. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Stena Nordica swings of the berth at Belfast VT4N as she starts another crossing to Cairnryan. She was covering for STENA SUPERFAST VIII which was in Belfast Dry Dock for routine maintenance. March 9th 2019. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
STENA NORDICA is a Stena Line passenger and vehicle Ro-Pax ferry. This article contains details of her history, technical data, and photographs (inside and out). STENA NORDICA normally operates in the Baltic Sea. She was previously P&O's EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR and DFDS's MALO SEAWAYS.

Fast Facts

  • IMO Number: 9215505
  • Constructed by: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki [JP] #1068
  • Also known as:
    MALO SEAWAYS, EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR
  • Passenger capacity: 447 (but limited to between 380 and 410 in service)
  • Vehicle Capacity: 375 cars OR 1949 lane metres of freight, or a combination of both
  • Current Operator: Stena Line
  • Usual Route: Karlskrona [SE] – Gdynia [PL]

Overview of Stena Nordica

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 an enlarged 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 had also previously been used on the Rosslare to Cherbourg route, which P&O closed in December 2004 but which was restarted by Celtic Link ferries early the following year. She would later return to that route as STENA NORDICA in a relief capacity after Stena Line took over Celtic Link in early 2014.

P&O Irish Sea's EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR pictured in Liverpool on arrival from her builders in Japan. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.
P&O Irish Sea’s EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR pictured in Liverpool on arrival from her builders in Japan. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.

Stena Line originally deployed STENA NORDICA to the Baltic (Karlskrona – Gdynia route), and she 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 March she received a further €2.2M refit to bring her into line with the rest of Stena Line’s Irish Sea fleet including new passenger lounges and bar, a new Stena Plus lounge, a Food City restaurant, a new freight drivers area and refurbished seating and flooring.

STENA NORDICA at Dublin. Copyright © Trevor Kidd.
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.

STENA NORDICA had a stint with DFDS operating between Dover and Calais as MALO SEAWAY. DFDS.
Stena RoRo owned STENA NORDICA had a stint on charter with DFDS operating between Dover and Calais as MALO SEAWAYS. DFDS.

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.

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After 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 six 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. On October 5th 2018 STENA NORDICA was reflagged from the UK (London) to the Bahamas (Nassau) in preparation for a return to the Karlskrona – Gdynia route as an additional ship. It is common for vessels with Polish crews to be flagged in the Bahamas or similar rather than Poland, and is a practice which even takes place on Polish state owned vessels.

STENA NORDICA had her flag and home port changed alongside at Karlskrona in early October 2018. © IMS Technical Services.
STENA NORDICA had her flag and home port changed alongside at Karlskrona in early October 2018. © IMS Technical Services.

During December 2018 NI Ferry Site revealed that STENA NORDICA would again be returning to the Irish Sea as the designated refit relief vessel, arriving initially to release STENA HORIZON to cover STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY on the Belfast – Liverpool (Birkenhead) route in the same way as she did in 2017. With STENA SUPERFAST X, STENA SUPERFAST VII, STENA SUPERFAST VIII, and STENA EUROPE all expected to dry-dock in early 2019 it is likely that STENA NORDICA will cover all of these vessels as well given how she proved herself in 2017. STENA NORDICA arrived in Belfast on the morning of 10.02.19 ahead of taking up service in place of STENA SUPERFAST VII the following morning with the 11:30 sailing ex Belfast.

Stena Nordica in Dublin on 27/12/16. She is the Stena Line Irish Sea refit relief vessel this year. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.
A hastily rebranded STENA NORDICA in Dublin on 27/12/16 following the conclusion of her GNV charter in the Mediterranean. She was the Stena Line Irish Sea refit relief vessel for 2017. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.

Stena Nordica Technical Data

Side profile of Stena Nordica (from photo). Steven Tarbox
Side profile of Stena Nordica (from photo). Steven Tarbox

The following is a summary of the key technical data of STENA NORDICA.  

Technical Data

STENA NORDICA

IMO Number

9215505

Design

KNUD E. HANSEN logoKnud E Hansen A/S

Technical Consultant

Three Quays Marine Services, London, England
(Now BCTQ)

Building Yard

MHI logoMitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki, Japan

Hull Number

1068

Keel Laid

17 Apr 2000

Completed

12 Dec 2000

In service

8/1/01 (P&O)
11/6/04 (Stena)

Call sign

C6RG8 / 2BXO2 / C6EB2 (current)

Classification

Lloyds Register of Shipping
+ LMC, UMS
+100A1 Roll On-Roll Off Passenger Ferry

Current Owner

Stena Line logoStena Line

Length overall (Between Perpendiculars)

169.8m (161.6m)

Beam

25.82m

Draft

6.02m (max)

Gross Tonnage

24,206

Machinery

  • Wartsila logoMain Engines : 2 x Wartsila 12V38 (wings) & 2 x Wartsila 18V38 (centre).
  • Daihatsu LogoAuxiliary Engines: 2 x Daihatsu 6DK-28 (1,900kW each @750 rpm).
  • Kawasaki LogoBow 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 speed

25.7 Knots (using all 4 main engines)

Capacity

  • 447 passengers max
    (This has been limited to between 380 and 410 passengers in service, depending on the operator)
  • 1949 lane metres of freight – 122 trailers or 375 cars or a combination of both

Crew

45

Current Flag

Bahamas civil ensign flagThe Bahamas (Nassau)

Previous Operators

GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci)

DFDS Seaways France

Stena Line

P&O Irish Sea

Part-sisters

EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY (P&O Ferries)

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER (P&O Ferries)

Stena Nordica seen arriving at Stena's Loch Ryan Port during her period as relief ship on the Belfast - Cairnryan route during February and March 2019. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
STENA NORDICA seen arriving at Stena’s Loch Ryan Port during her period as relief ship on the Belfast – Cairnryan route during February and March 2019. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

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