#HSStoOffice? - Former HSS Stena Explorer now remamed One World Karadeniz following sale to Turkish owners is understood to have arrived at Yalova yesterday marking the end of almost a three week long delivery voyage, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The last highspeed-ferry to serve the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route until withdrawn in September 2014, departed her Welsh homeport where she had been idle until 1 November. On that day she began her delivery voyage to the Turkish port under tow of tug/supply vessel Bluster. She was reported here on Afloat while off Spain and subsequently transiting the Strait of Gibraltar.
According to the current issue of Ships Monthly magazine, the sole surviving HSS 1500 class vehicle carrying catamaran craft may be destined for a new role in Turkey as a static office berthed in Istanbul.
Previously on Afloat.ie it was speculated that the almost 20,000 tonnes fast-ferry craft could be converted into a floating hotel (like old ferries in Scandinavia), though that was before it was known that the 'Explorer' had been sold to Turkish owners.
Among the diverse business interests of the owners understood to be behind One World Karadeniz, the portfolio includes real estate and energy involving a fleet of powerships.
So it will be intriguing to see what outcome is planned for the former 1,500 passenger fast-ferry and will that mean office workers could park their cars onboard!
At 40m wide the generous beam of the HSS could prove to be a most interesting space even if occupied for office purposes which these days are increasingly more open-planned and colouful (i.e. information technology firms). If so this is where the design of the HSS could also prove ideal for those in creative-led firms.
She has a single passenger deck divided into three open-planned areas, where the main section amidships has very large windows that run alongside both sides of the 126m long Finnish built craft.
In the original configuration of the Stena Explorer when launched on the Ireland-Wales route in 1996, she featured a McDonalds outlet. This fast-food faciity was located on a raised central section. Perhaps, this catering area could be uses as a canteen?
Located at the bow is the forward lounge area that included a restaurent, sports themed bar and club lounge and equally an impressive floor to ceiling window affording panormaic views.Could this area pose as the ideal head office?
Towards the stern is the gift and shopping outlet, tourism information area and reception desk, though seating near these areas are far more restrictive to the openess of the adjoining main lounge.
At the stern is where all the passengers embarked and disembarked given the HSS was a stern-only orientated craft that applied also for the vehicle deck to transport cars, vans and large trucks.
So watch this space!
Fastferry footnote: A model of the HSS Stena Explorer is on display in Dun Laoghaire at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland.
To some the model may be familiar given that it originally belonged to Stena Line who had the high-speed craft located in the foyer of the ferry terminal in Dun Laoghaire.