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Ship Strapline for Stena Europe A First for Irish Sea Ferry Fleet

26th January 2017
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Stena Europe recently returned to Rosslare-Fishguard duties is the operators first ferry on the Irish Sea to receive the new corporate strapline during a refit at H&W, Belfast Stena Europe recently returned to Rosslare-Fishguard duties is the operators first ferry on the Irish Sea to receive the new corporate strapline during a refit at H&W, Belfast Photo: Stena Line

#ShipStrapline - Stena Europe may be the oldest ferry in the operator’s Irish Sea fleet of seven ships, but the 1981 built vessel has emerged fresh from dry-docking as the first to sport a new livery strapline, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ferry operating the Rosslare-Fishguard route now has large 30-foot ‘blue’ lettering emblazoned on the hull with the words: ‘Connecting Europe for a Sustainable Future’. Accompanying the strapline on either sides are overlapping waves painted in shades of ‘green’. The strapline is to reflect Stena Line’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable and environmentally friendly company, a key aspect of the company’s future business strategy.

The external livery work on Stena Europe was carried out during a refit at Harland & Wolff shipyard. The work in Belfast was managed by Stena Line’s group sister company, Northern Marine Ferries as part of an ongoing £7m fleet refit programme. A fleetmate, Stena Lagan is currently at H&W for a refit while off duty from the Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route. Taking her place is Stena Horizon which in turn has been displaced from Rosslare-Cherbourg service by relief ferry Stena Nordica, see related report.  

Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Trade Director (Irish Sea South) commented: “We are delighted that one of our vessels has become the first Stena Line ship on the Irish Sea to promote our new company strapline which graphically reflects our increasing commitment to become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly company.

In addition to the exterior upgrades of the Stena Europe work was carried out on bow thrusters, rudders and main shaft seals under the water line. Additional upgrades applied to the galley, bar and crew accommodation.

To accommodate the increasing demand from the freight transport industry, Stena Line also increased the height to an area of the Stena Europe’s cargo deck.

The height clearance is 4.65m which is to handle all trailer height variations. This has allowed access to high top trailers, a key requirement of more freight customers operating between the UK and Ireland and for the company to expand the business in 2017.

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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