Overview of Stena Superfast X
STENA SUPERFAST X was Stena Line’s latest permanent addition to the Irish Sea
As the first of the series to leave Superfast Ferries, STENA SUPERFAST X has had a very different career to the other Stena Superfast vessels, having now operated for no less than 7 different operators in the Baltic, North Sea, Mediterranean, English Channel, and finally the Irish Sea.
Having been replaced on the Holyhead – Dublin route by STENA ESTRID, STENA SUPERFAST X left Holyhead for Belfast on January 13, 2020. After releasing STENA SUPERFAST VIII and STENA SUPERFAST VII for a brief dry docking, she dry docked herself at Harland & Wolff. She left dry dock on January 22 for Rosslare where she will STENA HORIZON from the overnight Rosslare – Cherbourg route, again for dry-docking. STENA SUPERFAST X is expected to return to the Holyhead route to release STENA ESTRID so the latter can in-turn release STENA ADVENTURER for refit at A&P Falmouth.
In early February 2020 it was announced that CORSICA Linea had agreed a “long-term” charter for STENA SUPERFAST X. After dry docking during March and April she will serve that company’s France – Algeria route as A NEPITA. Over 100 additional cabins will be fitted along with a reclining seat lounge to make her more suitable for her new route.
Please scroll down for the deck plans, interior gallery, and vessel history.
Knud E Hansen A/S and Deltamarin
Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, Kiel, Germany
(Now part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems)
American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
A1, Vehicle Passenger Ferry,, AMS
(Previously Det Norsk Veritas [from 02.2007 – 31.01.2018]
DNV GL 1A1 Car Ferry A TMON)
Stocznia Remontowa Nauta S.A., Gdynia, Poland.
|Conversion completed|| |
22/2/2015 (left Nauta for Holyhead)
|Interior Design (for Stena)|| |
|Interior Fitout (for Stena)|| |
Stena North Sea Ltd.
Northern Marine Ferries Ltd.
Stena Line Limited (Irish Sea South)
In service (original)
In service (Stena Line)
Call sign (Stena)
Length overall (Between perpendiculars)
Machinery (after Stena conversion)
• 4 x Wärtsilä-Sulzer NSD 16ZAV40S main engines producing 11520kW each (cylinder diameter: 400mm, stroke: 560mm) manufactured by Wärtsilä-NSD in Italy, coupled to 2x 5.2m KaMeWa propellers via 2 x Schelde DH4500 dual input single output gearboxes with 2 speed power take-off for shaft generator. 2 x ABB AMG 500 L6 2100kVA shaft generators.
• 3 x MAN B&W 8L28/32H diesel engines, producing a total of 1,848 kW each @ 720 rpm and one Caterpillar 3508DI-SCAC diesel engine producing 968kW @ 1800 rpm. 3 x ABB and one Caterpillar electric generator.
• 3 x 2000mm KaMeWa 925kW bow thrusters and 1x KaMeWa TT2200K/CP-KII 2200mm 1350kW stern thruster.
• 2 x Ulstein electro-hydraulic steering gears.
• 2 x Blohm+Voss S600 fin stabilisers
Power(Max/Pme @ 75%)
Operational speed (Tallink/Stena)
28-29 knots maximum speed (pre-rebuild)
Capacity (for Tallink)
717 passengers (626 berths)
110 trucks and 85 cars
Capacity (for Stena)
1200 passengers and the following vehicles
1891 lane meters total (661 cars or 110 trailers or a mix of both)
Onboard Facilities in use
• Stena Plus Lounge (chargeable extra).
• Met Bar and Grill.
• Barista coffee house.
• Family lounge with children’s play area.
• Free cinema.
• Stena “outlet” shopping.
• Dedicated freight driver lounge and separate coach driver lounge.
• Passenger cabins.
• Sun and promenade decks.
• Free Wi-fi @ Sea.
Previous operators (most recent first)
DFDS Seaways France (as Dieppe Seaways)
SeaFrance (as SeaFrance Molière)
Anek Lines (as Jean Nicoli)
COTUNAV (as Jean Nicoli)
SNCM (as Jean Nicoli)
Superfast Ferries (as Superfast X)
|Flags (previous operators)|| |
Nov 2012 – Nov 2015 France (Le Havre)
2012 – 2012 Malta (Valetta)
2008 -2012 France (Boulogne sur Mer)
2007– 2008 France (Ajaccio)
2002 – 2007 Greece (Piraeus)
SUPERFAST X was the final of 4 identical ships delivered to Superfast Ferries in 2001 and 2002 by the same German yard (the other of the 4 ships in the Superfast VII class was launched as SUPERFAST IX and is currently Marine Atlantic’s ATLANTIC VISION, operating in Canadian waters). Along with SUPERFAST IX, she originally operated on Superfast Ferries short-lived Rosyth – Zeebrugge route. STENA SUPERFAST X is unique among the four Superfast VII class ships in having no tips on her funnel wings. This is due to a clause in the sale agreement between Superfast and Veolia/SNCM when she was sold from the Superfast Ferries fleet in 2007, as Superfast were fiercely protective of their brand at the time – the funnel wings where a key part of the Superfast branding.
Having purchased SUPERFAST X for €112m as part of an unsuccessful attempt to win the contract to run the concession between Marseille and Corsica, SNCM renamed her JEAN NICOLI. They soon chartered her out to Tunisian operator COTUNAV for around three months before another short-term charter was agreed, the time with Greek operator ANEK Lines. It was no secret that SNCM wanted to sell rather than charter out the vessel, however.
At the end of December 2007, JEAN NICOLI was sold to French operator SeaFrance for future service between Dover and Calais at a price of €105m. SeaFrance intended for her to replace both SEAFRANCE MONET and SEAFRANCE MANET after conversion to a “day” ferry. The company had originally wanted to order a third newbuild based on the design of SEAFRANCE RODIN and SEAFRANCE BERLIOZ instead, but a lack of shipyard capacity and a projected cost of €150-200m (not to mention any newbuild would be unlikely to be delivered before 2011) forced them to look for an existing vessel which could be made suitable.
Conversion to a “day” ferry
Now renamed SEAFRANCE MOLIERE, the former JEAN NICOLI arrived at ARNO Dunkerque on April 8th 2008 for an extensive refit at a projected cost of €15m. This quickly rose to around €20m. MacGregor was brought in to convert the loading arrangements of the vessel to make them compatible with the ports at Dover and Calais, including the modification and reinforcement of the bow doors and total replacement of the stern doors with
SEAFRANCE MOLIERE eventually entered passenger service around 2 months later than planned during October 2008, with the delay attributed to technical problems. As soon as February 2009 she was sent to Brest for a further technical overhaul which would last almost a month.
Following the failure of a recapitalisation plan by parent SNCF which was blocked by the EU, it was announced that SeaFrance would be liquidated on 16th November 2011 with all vessels laid up at Calais. In February 2012, SEAFRANCE MOLIERE was moved to Dunkerque for further layup. In July she was sold to Scapino Shipping who renamed her MOLIERE and moved her to Tilbury. On October 24th 2012 DFDS Seaways announced that they had agreed to charter MOLIERE for their own Dover to Calais service as a replacement for DEAL SEAWAYS which had proven unsuitable for the Dover Strait service. After a short refit at ARNO Dunkerque and now renamed DIEPPE SEAWAYS, she replaced DEAL SEAWAYS on the 6th of November wearing a basic DFDS livery with a white hull instead of the blue worn by the rest of the DFDS fleet.
At a longer refit in Gdansk lasting two and a half weeks during February 2014, DIEPPE SEAWAYS received the full DFDS livery at last. In May 2014 however, it was reported that she had been sold to Stena RoRo. With DFDS’s two year charter due to end that November there was speculation that Stena intended to deploy DIEPPE SEAWAYS within their own Stena Line network. In late August, MacGregor announced that they had been awarded a contract to convert DIEPPE SEAWAYS for Stena Line’s Holyhead to Dublin route, with DFDS confirming to the French press the following week that the vessel would be returned to her owners in November.
It was not until December the 8th however until Stena Line confirmed in a press release that the vessel would be coming to Holyhead. Stena had actually purchased the then DIEPPE SEAWAYS in January 2014 according to their financial summary, but the transaction wasn’t widely reported until May.
Another Rebuild and the return of the ‘superfast’ name
On expiry of the DFDS charter, DIEPPE SEAWAYS was sent to the Nauta ship repair yard in Gdynia, Poland for conversion to make her more suitable for replacing both STENA NORDICA and HSS STENA EXPLORER on the Holyhead to Dublin/Dun Laoghaire routes (the Dun Laoghaire route closed during 2014). This included extensive work to her interior accommodation, alterations to both the bow and stern loading arrangements (which had been adapted for the English Channel service by SeaFrance), new more efficient propeller blades, and a technical overhaul to bring the ship up to “Stena standards”.
Cargotec subsidiary MacGregor carried out the necessary work to the bow and stern loading arrangements, undoing much of the work they had done just a few years earlier for SeaFrance. This included new bow and stern ramps as well as modifications to the coaming to allow the use of ship-to-shore ramps again in favour of the shore-to-ship ramps favoured on the Dover Strait. The bow “cow-catcher” (a metal frame where a shore to ship ramp lands on the vessel) was also removed.
Birkenhead based MPE Interiors won the contract for refurbishing the passenger accommodation – a contract which involved more than 30 staff working over a four week period in both Gdynia and Holyhead. The resulting interior layout is somewhat different from that of STENA SUPERFAST VII and VIII, reflecting the longer voyage by the provision of 39 cabins on deck 8 in addition to six suites on deck 10. While the layout of deck 7 and 8 didn’t change massively, the look and feel did as a result of a comprehensive refurbishment. MPE also refurbished the existing passenger cabins on deck’s 8 and 10. STENA SUPERFAST X also became the first vessel on the Irish Sea to feature Stena’s “Outlet” onboard shop concept.
Unlike as-built sisters STENA SUPERFAST VII and VIII, there was no requirement for significantly increased free-height for high-sided freight vehicles on the Holyhead route, and so the deckheads of the vehicle decks of STENA SUPERFAST X were left largely intact apart from some work on deck 5 to ensure that 4.65m high vehicles could be accommodated across the deck. This was in contrast to the North Channel twins which needed major structural modifications on the upper vehicle deck due to the higher height limit on UK roads versus that in Ireland.
Like the North Channel pair, STENA SUPERFAST X‘s original ice strengthened stainless steel propellers were changed for a more efficient design – allowing her to achieve 22 knots on just two engines in her post-refit sea trials. On the bridge, new radar and electronic chart display and information systems were installed.
Stena Line Service
STENA SUPERFAST X had a somewhat troublesome introduction to service at Holyhead, with teething issues leading to some delays and cancellations. There were also reports of some of the refurbishment still being completed in the early weeks of her service, with rumours she had been rushed into service due to a charter having already been agreed with DFDS for one of the vessels she replaced, STENA NORDICA, which would, in turn, replace the former DIEPPE SEAWAYS at Dover. Freight drivers, in particular, were initially very critical of the vessel due to a perceived lack of cabin berths on busier sailings.
However, in time STENA SUPERFAST X has proven to be a reliable vessel, and in 2018 even sailed at times when STENA ADVENTURER and Irish Ferries’ ULYSSES had been cancelled! Some minor changes have also been made to her accommodation in response to passenger feedback since her introduction, such as the redesignation of one of her cinemas on Deck 8 as a commercial drivers lounge.
North Channel service
In February 2016, STENA SUPERFAST X acted as the refit relief vessel for STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII with mixed success. Her smaller restaurant and truckers restaurant which together occupy a space solely dedicated to the ‘Taste’ restaurant on the regular vessels seemed to be a particular source of complaints. For 2017 STENA NORDICA, which had by then returned to Stena Line, provided refit cover instead with more success despite her lower passenger capacity.
STENA SUPERFAST X returned to Belfast again on January 13th 2020, following being replaced at Holyhead by the brand-new STENA ESTRID. After covering for STENA SUPERFAST VIII and STENA SUPERFAST VII for two days each, she made her own way to Harland & Wolff for dry-docking. Once completed, she is expected to release STENA HORIZON from the Rosslare – Cherbourg route for dry-docking.
On the morning of January 13th 2020, STENA SUPERFAST X left Holyhead for Belfast ahead of STENA ESTRID taking over her schedule from the 08:55 ex Holyhead. After releasing STENA SUPERFAST VIII and STENA SUPERFAST VII for dry-docking, she went to dry dock herself at Harland & Wolff Belfast. She will release STENA HORIZON from the Rosslare – Cherbourg route for dry-docking, then STENA ESTRID on the Holyhead – Dublin route so the latter can cover the refit of STENA ADVENTURER. At
In early February 2020 it was announced that CORSICA Linea had agreed a “long-term” charter for STENA SUPERFAST X. After dry docking during March and April she will serve that company’s France – Algeria route as A NEPITA. Over 100 additional cabins will be fitted along with a reclining seat lounge to make her more suitable for her new route. Exhaust gas scrubbers will also be fitted.
Click on the image to view a larger version.
An interior gallery of STENA SUPERFAST X can be found at the dedicated “look inside” feature here.
Stena Superfast X Gallery
NIFS would like to thank Scott Mackey and Diane Poole OBE at Stena Line for their help compiling this page.
Last Updated: 23.01.20