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Ferry Operator Stena Announce New Measures Put in Place to Ensure Safe Travel this Summer

15th June 2020
Set of safety measures announced by Stena Line with potential easing of lock-down and travel restrictions on non essential travel is aimed to ensure those taking a ferry is the safest form of public transport Set of safety measures announced by Stena Line with potential easing of lock-down and travel restrictions on non essential travel is aimed to ensure those taking a ferry is the safest form of public transport Photo: Stena Line

A set of safety measures announced by Stena Line, given the potential easing of lockdown restrictions and the re-emergence of non-essential travel, is aimed at ensuring ferry travel is the safest form of public transport.

Social distancing, fog machines, fresh sea air inside the ships and the recommended wearing of face coverings, are all seen as key to reassuring customers about the future of ferry travel (see safety video) as countries reopen their borders in the coming weeks.

Stena Line’s ferries have played a vital role during the pandemic keeping supplies of food, medicines and equipment moving across Europe. As people look forward to being able to travel this summer, Stena Line has been receiving an increase in passenger bookings. In advance of the return of sea corridors reopening to tourist travel the company has been finalising extensive new safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a safe and seamless journey:

  • Easier social distancing - ferry travel is the only form of public transport where passengers can social distancing easily. Stena Line has undertaken risk assessments, which have capped the numbers of passengers on each crossing to guarantee adequate space.
  • Fresh sea air is now being circulated into the air filtration systems on all ferries.
  • New fog machines are being used to sanitise communal areas and cabins on the ferries and alongside the continuous cleaning routines being undertaken throughout the ships.
  • From today, Monday 15th June, face coverings are recommended for all passengers and crew on Stena Line vessels, and in terminals, on all routes on the Irish Sea and the North Sea, where social distancing is difficult to achieve, such as in stairwells, lifts and in corridors.

“Ferry travel is the only mode of transport where you can social distance, so it is no surprise that we are now seeing an increase in bookings due to the expected reduction in lockdown restrictions. In advance of the return of international travel we now feel the time is right to tell people about our new anti-COVID-19 measures and reassure them that ferries provide the safest mode of transport for travel passengers and freight drivers. The safety of our passengers and crew is always a top priority for Stena Line.” Says Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

As part of Stena Line’s safety plan to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, an extensive risk assessment identified three key stages of the customer journey to focus on:

A. During check-in at the Terminal.

B. While onboard the vessels.

C. During embarkation and disembarkation

 “By providing the ability to social distance the whole journey, our big, bright and spacious ferries have plenty of fresh sea air, both inside and out, and offer the safest way to travel for people who want to take a break after the long lockdown” says Niclas Mårtensson, CEO of Stena Line.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

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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