P&O Larne-Cairnryan refit/dry-dock dates 2017.

EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER leaves Larne in the freshly applied new P&O livery, May 2015. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

P&O’s Larne to Cairnryan vessels European Causeway and European Highlander are expected to go for dry docking between the 28th April and 2nd June this year.  European Highlander will be first, heading for Cammell-Laird Birkenhead on 28th of April.  She will return on the 15th of May, allowing European Causeway to take her turn at Cammell-Laird. Throughout the dry-docking period P&O’s Dover based “Super Freighter” European Seaway will provide cover, becoming the largest ferry to ever operate a scheduled service from Larne in the process.  This will be the first time European Seaway has visited Northern Ireland, with dry-docking periods in recent years normally covered by Dublin-Liverpool’s Norbay.  Due to her length (around 10m longer than the limit stated on the Port of Larne website) NIFS expect that she will use the MacKean Quay berth in Larne, which is the longest berth available at the port.  MacKean Quay also has the twin-tier linkspan European Seaway will need to be able to … Read more

In strange waters #2: Stena Line Irish Sea dry docking’s/refits 2017.

Stena Europe in Rosslare showing off her new livery. Stena Line.

This page will be continually updated throughout the refit period which is expected to run until May 2017. Last years “in strange waters” can be found here. Please note that due to the nature of their content, both pages are very heavy in photographic material and may take a while to load on slower connections.  The second part of this year’s feature can be found here. This year Stena Line will complete all Irish Sea dry docking’s at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard, that’s a total of 9 ships from the fleet of 11.  At the end of 2016 Stena announced that the entire fleet would be receiving the latest livery and strap-line “Connecting Europe for a Sustainable Future” during their scheduled dry docking’s, in a style similar to that applied to Stena Britannica recently.  This replaces the previous “Making Good Time” strap-line. (Title image:  Stena Europe in Rosslare displaying the … Read more

Update on Le Rif (former Galloway Princess)

Chantry Classics postcard of Stena Galloway in Sealink Stena Line livery. (Steven Tarbox Collection)

Reports from Spain indicate that former North Channel favourite, Le Rif (ex Stena Galloway, Galloway Princess) has yet to enter the Andalucia dry dock at Cernaval’s Mario Lopez shipyard in Malaga, despite it being a month since her arrival in the Spanish port.  It appears that the delay has been due to the ship requiring more work than previously thought to prepare her for entering the dry-dock for a €2.5m refurbishment concentrating mostly on her hull and mechanicals.  It is understood that onboard power is currently being provided by a generator on the dock side. With the above in mind, and the fact that the ship will need to be re-certified by the appropriate authorities, it is very unlikely that Le Rif will enter service before the end of 2016.  Reports on local sites last week suggested Le Rif was to enter the dry-dock before the end of August, but at the time of writing, her … Read more

Stena Horizon return to service delayed.

Stena Horizon‘s refit period at Belfast’s Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries appears to have been extended by at least 2 days.  Originally the 186m long vessel (which is a near sister of Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey) had been expected to leave Belfast on Wednesday morning. However, according to the current scheduled departure showing on Belfast Harbour’s website she is now due to leave on Friday morning instead. Stena Horizon of course is due to release Stena Superfast X from the Dublin to Holyhead route so she can come north to in turn release Stena Superfast VIII and Stena Superfast VII from the Belfast to Cairnryan service for their own refits at H&W.  As a result of the delay in completing Stena Horizon‘s refit, NIFS expect that the refit of Stena Superfast VIII may also be slightly delayed. Title image:  Stena Horizon in dry-dock at Belfast, January 2016. Copyright © Scott … Read more

The ‘other’ Stena Superfast: Stena Superfast X, coming soon to Belfast (for a while).

Stena Superfast X. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

Stena Superfast X to operate to Cairnryan next month. Next month will see the maiden arrival in Belfast of the latest permanent addition to the Stena Line Irish Sea fleet, Stena Superfast X.  Stena Superfast X was of course built as a sister ship to our own Stena Superfast VII and VIII, although she has had a very different career.  Normally Stena Superfast X would operate between Dublin and Holyhead, however she will operate from Belfast for around 2 weeks whilst covering the dry-docking periods of Stena Superfast VII and VIII at Harland and Wolff.  The Belfast yard has of course secured a £4m contact to refit the bulk of Stena Line’s Irish Sea fleet this year. Stena Superfast X will offer a different passenger experience to the regular vessels however, as she has been laid out differently internally, reflecting the different nature of her regular crossing.  Of particular note is the retention … Read more

PR: Harland and Wolff Secures £4m Stena Line Contract

Stena Line has continued its tradition of supporting the local maritime industry by placing a £4.4m contract with Harland and Wolff for the refit of its Irish Sea ferry fleet. Over the next two months, seven Stena Line vessels will visit the shipyard on a carefully sequenced timetable to facilitate a range of specialist works including annual inspections, passenger facility upgrade work as well as ongoing technical enhancements. Stena Line recently celebrated 20 years of its operations in Belfast.  In 2015, Stena Line transported 1.4 million passengers, 318 000 cars and almost  500 000 freight units on its Belfast services to Cairnryan, Liverpool and Heysham, employing 900 staff. Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Manager said: ”Our refits are very important to ensure the smooth and safe running of our expanding fleet of ships.  The decision to place the majority of our refit contract work with Harland and Wolff allows us … Read more

Sailing update: Stena Lagan dry-docked

Stena Lagan, alongside VT2, Belfast. Viewed from the freight yard at VT2. Taken following a visit to Stena Lagan on 2nd November 2015. With many thanks to Captain Stephen Millar for his hospitality.

Planned essential maintenance for Stena Lagan. Stena Lagan entered the dry-dock at Harland and Wolff this morning for planned maintenance. She will return to service for tomorrow nights (22:00) departure to Birkenhead. As a result, there will be no evening departure from Birkenhead tonight. Stena Performer is currently operating an additional sailing for freight in Stena Lagan’s absence.  This follows a similar dry-docking for sister-ship Stena Mersey last week, and the commencement of the 2016 refit programme for the Irish Sea fleet.  Stena Horizon will be the next ship to enter dry-dock, and is expected at Harland & Wolff from the 14th to the 28th of January once she has been relieved by Stena Flavia (currently en-route from the Baltic).

Update: MV Portaferry II dry-docking

Portaferry - Strangford Ferry Portaferry II

MV Strangford set to continue in service throughout January. The main Strangford to Portaferry vessel Portaferry II is set to remain in dry-dock at Cammel-Laird Birkenhead until early next week. Subject to weather conditions being favourable for her crossing of the Irish Sea, Portaferry II should be back in Strangford Lough around the 15th of January. However, further mechanical work is required upon her return, meaning her return to service from refit will not be until the end of the month. Meanwhile, the veteran Strangford Ferry will continue to operate the service alone as she has done throughout November and December. As a result the 7.5 tonne weight restriction on vehicles will remain, unfortunately causing inconvenience to some users and businesses. However, NIFS understand that the A20 Portaferry road has reopened following its closure due to storm damage before Christmas. Title photo: Portaferry II.  Copyright © Scott Mackey

Stena Line Irish Sea refit schedule for 2016

Stena Superfast VII in dry dock at Harland & Wolff Belfast. © Scott Mackey 2015.

Majority of Stena Line Irish Sea fleet to visit Harland and Wolff in early 2016. As previously speculated, Stena Flavia will be the designated refit cover vessel for Stena Line’s Irish Sea refits in 2016.  Stena Flavia will leave the Baltic on 09/1/16 for Rosslare to take up service to Cherbourg from 14/1/16 until 8/3/16 in place of Stena Horizon.  Gothenburg to Frederikshavn vessel Stena Gothica is believed to be planned to cover for Stena Flavia in her absence.  The former Celtic Link vessel Stena Horizon will visit Harland and Wolff from 14/1/16 to 28/1/16, after which she will cover the Dublin to Holyhead route until approximately 7/3/16. On Stena Horizon‘s arrival at Dublin, Stena Superfast X will have an in water survey from 28/1/16 until 30/1/16.  She will then leave for Belfast to cover the refits of Stena Superfast VIII and VII, returning to Holyhead on 16/2/16 and onto Stena … Read more

Press Release: Renovation of Silja Line ships continues – Extensive renewals on Silja Serenade.

M/S Silja Serenade, the ferry operating between Helsinki and Stockholm, will today sail to the Rauma Shipyard for two weeks. Several modifications visible to passengers will be carried out on the ship in connection with the technical dry docking that is part of its maintenance programme. The previous round of extensive renovation work on Silja Serenade took place in early 2014. As with its sister vessel M/S Silja Symphony in the previous round of renovation work, the children’s playground Silja Land will be moved to the bow area of deck five. This change, carried out as a response to the wishes of families with young children, will elevate the cruising experience of young passengers to a totally new level. In addition, interesting changes to cabins will be implemented for families with children during December. Designed by architect Heikki Mattila, the new Silja Land will have 290 m² space to play; based … Read more