Stena Line is to shuffle its fleet this weekend in order to cover what is believed to be essential maintenance on STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII. The shuffle, which affects every Irish Sea route apart from Belfast – Heysham and Rosslare – Cherbourg, comes after STENA EDDA spent much longer than originally expected in dry dock.
Starting this Saturday Feb 13, STENA EDDA will release STENA SUPERFAST VIII and then STENA SUPERFAST VII to dry dock at Harland & Wolff. Edda is currently still in dry dock at the Belfast yard herself with STENA EMBLA and STENA MERSEY maintaining the Belfast – Liverpool route.
STENA MERSEY is expected to leave for lengthening in Turkey at the beginning of next week, and so Stena Line finds itself with an operational ship short on the Irish Sea. To allow STENA EDDA to cover the Belfast – Cairnryan route, STENA HORIZON will be redeployed from the Dublin – Holyhead service to release STENA MERSEY.
Fishguard sailings temporarily suspended
STENA EUROPE will move north to Holyhead from her usual Rosslare – Fishguard route to take over STENA HORIZON’s roster. As a consequence, there will be no sailings to Fishguard from Monday 15 until February 24 according to Stena’s live freight timetable (subject to change).
There will also be no Dublin – Cherbourg sailing next weekend as veteran ferry STENA EUROPE has been deemed unsuitable for the lengthy overnight crossing to France.
Demand remains low at Holyhead
Freight demand on services to Northern Ireland is understood to have recovered fully following Brexit, with carryings ahead on last year on some services despite additional checks. However, on routes to Great Britain from Dublin and Rosslare demand is still well below normal levels.
Freight demand on the Holyhead- Dublin route is believed to be as low as 50% of normal, allowing Stena Line to use the much lower freight capacity STENA EUROPE at Dublin.
Competitor Irish Ferries is also deploying a lower capacity ship temporarily at Dublin to cover its dry docking period. MEGA EXPRESS FOUR arrived in Holyhead earlier today and will initially replace EPSILON on the Dublin – Holyhead and Dublin – Cherbourg schedules.