Displaying items by tag: BelfastCairnryan
#DryDockings - Belfast-Cairnryan sailings covered by Stena Nordica, as previously reported will remain to the end of this month, when North Channel Superfast sisters VII and VIII each take turns to dry-dock, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Following the overhauls taken place in Harland & Wolff, Nordica, recently replaced by Dublin-Holyhead newcomer Superfast X will be chartered to DFDS Seaways to take up service on the premier Dover-Calais route.
Before she heads south, the name Stena 'Nordica' also applied to a previous ferry in the late 1960's that Stena chartered to Sealink /British Rail's Larne-Stranraer route. This charter ended almost 44 years ago on the 27 March 1971 when a new vehicle car ramp was installed at Stranraer.
It is somewhat full circle given that the Swedish ferry giant is very much a player on the present day Belfast-Cairnryan service having switched Scottish port to a new custom built terminal at Loch Ryan Port in 2011.
The ro-pax Nordica with capacity for 405 passengers has vehicle deck space for 375 cars / 122 trailers, was originally with P&O Ferries running on the Irish Sea as well as a weekend operated Dublin-Cherbourg service. She had spells in Scandinavia for Stena before returning to the Irish Sea to partner Stena Adventurer on the Dublin route.
On this new career, she is to partner Calais Seaways to boost much needed capacity on the premier short-sea service. The newcomer will follow the route's previous second ship, Dieppe Seaways, (now Superfast X) which Stena had also chartered to DFDS until a two-year charter expired last year.
Calais Seaways is the stalwart of Strait of Dover. Originally she served Dover-Ostend service when launched as Prins Filip, the flagship of Belgian state operator RTM back in 1991.
#FERRY AWARD – Stena Line's first anniversary of the Belfast-Cairnryan route was celebrated with an award for Best Ferry Operator, reports Carrick Today.
The Scottish service is one of five routes the ferry operator runs on the Irish Sea and in which the annual travel excellence award was presented at the Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) awards.
Diane Poole OBE, Stena Line's Head of PR and Communications, said she was delighted to see the company receive the title. "It is always a great honour to receive an award but this one is special as it is recognition from our peers in the travel world," she said. "Stena Line would like to thank all at SPAA for their continued work to promote all that is great about our travel industry."
#FERRY NEWS- Stena Navigator which served on the former Belfast-Stranraer route, has been sold to overseas buyers. She was one of three ferries made redundant following the switch pf ports to a new ferry terminal in Cairnryan and introduction of larger vessels, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Having only been introduced on the North Channel in late 2009, Stena Navigator (PHOTO) is now set to embark on a new career in the Mediterranean with Spanish operator Baleària. The company operates routes linking the islands to the Spanish mainland in addition to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the ferry is to start service.
The 1,650-passenger, 280-vehicle capacity vessel is currently berthed at Albert Quay, Belfast, before she makes her delivery voyage.
Launched in 1984 as Champs Elysees at Dubigeon Normandie, Nantes Saint Nazaire, for SNCF's Dover-Calais route. She then spent service Stena Line as Stena Parisien between Newhaven-Dieppe before been sold to SeaFrance. This saw her return to the Dover Strait as SeaFrance Manet until eventually sold back to Stena Line.
Berthed ahead of the 15,229grt ferry is her former fleetmate Stena Caledonia, built at the nearby Harland & Wolff and upriver the HSS Stena Voyager is berthed at VT4 Terminal. Since been laid-up the vessels were transferred to a Stena subsidiary, Northern Marine Management (NMM).
#FERRY NEWS- In the space of two days, Stena Line opened a new ferry route between Belfast-Cairnryan today following yesterday's closure of services between Belfast-Stranraer, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Sisters Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII inaugurated sailings on the 2 hour 15 minute with 12 crossings daily, and in which will use a new £80m ferry terminal at Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan and the VT4 terminal in Belfast. The relocation of Scottish ports and terminal investment cost £200m.
The newcomers have a capacity for 1,200 passenger /660 vehicles or 110 freight units. They received a refit and upgrade in Poland where new luxurious facilities such as a Nordic Spa, interactive lounge zone with the latest in technology and free Wi-Fi access throughout the vessel and VIP lounges were installed. To read more click HERE.
At 204m and over 30,000 tonnes each the German built pair are easily the largest ever ferries to operate in the North Channel and will compete with rivals P&O Larne-Cairnryan route served by the 20,000 tonnes sisters European Causeway and European Highlander both built in Japan.
The introduction of the former Scandinavian serving sisters directly replaced Stena Caledonia and HSS Stena Voyager from the Belfast-Stranraer route which only started in 1995. Prior to then Stena Line had operated a service from Larne, which could trace ferry services for the last 123 years.
The Swedish ferry company decided to abandon the route in favour of Belfast. This development also saw the introduction of the second revolutionary HSS 1500 series catamaran ferry HSS Stena Voyager in tandem with various conventional tonnage used over the last sixteen years. The final sailings at the weekend marked the closure of nearly 140 years of several ferry operators running between Stranraer at the end of Loch Ryan and Belfast.
With the withdrawal of HSS Stena Voyager and Stena Caledonia yesterday, she joins former fleetmate Stena Navigator in Belfast, which stood down from Stranraer service last week as previously reported, to read click HERE.
The new route to Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan includes a new £80m ferryport terminal which will be served by the 30,000 gross tonnes sisters, the largest ever ferries on the North Channel. Stena Superfast VIII is currently in the Skagerrak off northern Denmark and follows her sister Stena Superfast VII which arrived over the weekend, having also undergone refurbishment at the Romentowa shipyard.
The relocation of Scottish terminal from Stranraer to Loch Ryan Port is seven miles closer to the open sea and sailing times are to be reduced to 2hrs and 15minutes. The new terminal is to be officially opened on 25th November when First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness will join Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line.
As for the 15,229 gross tonnes Stena Navigator, she made her Stranraer-Belfast sailing yesterday, after de-storing at the VT4 ferry terminal, only completed in 2008, she proceeded to berth at Albert Quay, the location of the former city-centre ferry terminal.
In the interim period to the opening of the new Belfast-Cairnryan route, the sailing schedule on the Belfast-Stranraer service are been maintained by another conventional ferry, Stena Caledonia and fast sailings by the HSS Stena Voyager.
HSS Stena Voyager is expected to lay-up at VT4 after making final sailings to and from Stranraer this Sunday. It is expected Stena Caledonia will also be withdrawn that day and berth at Albert Quay. In the process she will pass Harland & Wolf shipyard, where she was launched in 1981 as the St. David, the last of the quartet of Saint-class ferries commissioend for Sealink/British Rail.
The career of Stena Navigator on the North Channel was short as she only entered service two years ago. She was built in 1984 as Champs Elysees first served for SNCF/Sealink's jointly run Dover-Calais route, followed by a brief spell under Stena Line as Stena Parisien on Newhaven-Dieppe sailings.
She returned to the Straits of Dover route but this time as SeaFrance Manet under the control of SeaFrance. In 2008 SeaFrance introduced SeaFrance Moliere, the former Superfast X, ironically another sister of Stena Line's 'Superfast' ships. This Superfast vessel along with two custom built newbuilds entered SeaFrance service in recent years which led to the eventual replacement of SeaFrance Renoir and her half sister SeaFrance Manet.
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The New Superfast leaves Gdansk
The 30,285grt newcomer and her sister Stena Superfast VIII will become the largest ever ferries running on the North Channel , though prior to entering service on 21 November, they will undertake berthing trials and crew training.
For the next two-years the sisters are on charter from Scandinavian operators Tallink, and are to operate the new 2 hour 15 minute route with 12 crossings daily. The ten-deck ships can carry up to 1200 passengers, 660 cars or 110 freight units. The sisters will be re-gistered in their new homport of Belfast.
The relocation of Scottish ferry port and the introduction of the Superfast sisters will replace the existing pair of conventional ferry tonnage, Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator (1984/15,229gt) the latter vessel is believed to be sold. In addition HSS sailings will cease causing the HSS Stena Voyager to become redundant, she was the second of the trio of pioneering HSS 1500 craft built.
When Stena Superfast VII departed Gdansk, she passed the Stena Vision which operates Stena Line's Karlskrona-Gdynia route, the Baltic Sea city lies to the west of Gdansk. Also in Gdansk was the Stena Feronia, the former Irish Sea serving Visentini built ro-pax Dublin Seaways, which was operated albeit briefly by DFDS Seaways last year on the Dublin-(Birkenhead) Liverpool service.
She served under her new Scandinavian owners but the firm's first foray into the Irish market lasted a mere six months. DFDS Seaways sold their Irish Sea network to Stena Line (to read report click HERE) with the exception of their Dublin-Birkenhead service which closed. In addition the Dublin-Heysham freight-only route which closed until re-opened by Seatruck Ferries. The route is currently served by Anglia Seaways, the freightferry which DFDS previously used on the route is on charter to the operator.
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"We are moving into a very important time for Stena Line's operation between Northern Ireland and Scotland. On November 21 we are scheduled to start our new Belfast to Cairnryan service which will also see the introduction of two new vessels, Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII, the largest ships every to have sailed between Northern Ireland and Scotland," he continued.
Stena Line's switch of Scottish terminal from Stranrear to the new purpose built facility in Cairnryan which is some 8-miles closer to the open sea along Loch Ryan will reduce sailing times by 35 minutes down to 2 hours 15 minutes.
The 30,285grt Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII sisters can carry 1,200 passengers, 660 cars and 110 freight-unit / trucks. In addition they have a novel Nordic Spa facility incorporating a sauna and Jacuzzi.
The 206m pair will compete with rivals P&O (Irish Sea) which operates also from a neighbouring terminal in Cairnryan where another pair of sisters European Highlander and European Causeway provide 2-hour sailings to Larne.
Currently Belfast-Stranraer sailings are served by conventional tonnage ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which lost engine-power on 14 October, to read more click HERE.
In addition fast-sailings are run by the expensive to operate HSS Stena Voyager which manages a faster crossing time on the existing route by shaving 15 minutes off the link between Loch Ryan and Belfast Lough. In 2008 the terminal in Belfast was relocated downriver to Victoria Terminal 4 (VT4) on the eastern edge of the port from the older inner-city terminal at Albert Quay.
Stena are to lease the 'Superfast' pair for three years from Scandinavia operator Tallink and they are to directly replace both the HSS and conventional ferries.
Apart from the novelty factor of this on board feature the 30,285grt vessels will also the largest ever deployed on any North Channel route. In addition the region will see the opening of the new £80m ferryport of Loch Ryan Port, located close to rivals, P&O (Irish Sea) at their terminal in Cairnryan.
Stena's decision to relocate to Loch Ryan Port which is only eight miles away from its existing Scottish terminal in Stranraer on the shores of Loch Ryan is to reduce passage times, fuel costs and road travel times. The closure of this port will also see the end of HSS fast-craft sailings served by HSS Stena Voyager and conventional vessels Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator.
The Superfast sisters are on charter for two-years, where they will operated the new 2 hour 15 minute route which is due to be launched on 21 November. They will make 12 crossings per day and each of the ten-deck ships can carry up to 1200 passengers, 660 cars or 110 freight units.
Originally the pair, built in 2001 at the Howaldtswerde Deutsche Werft AG, Kiel for Attica Enterprises, were used by Superfast Ferries on their German (Rostock-Hanko) Finnish route. In 2006 they were sold to Tallink, where they operated on other Scandinavian services.
As for the remaining winter-serving fast-ferries they are Stena Line's HSS Stena Voyager (1996/ 19,638grt) between Belfast-Stranraer, in tandem with conventional ferries. Next month this route will close as the Scottish terminal relocates to a new ferryport nearby at (Loch Ryan Port) Cairnryan.
In addition two sister-ferries, which are undergoing modifications and an upgrade for their two-year charter on the North Channel, will directly replace the two-hour passage times it takes for the HSS fast-ferry and the ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which take 2hrs 50 minutes.
With the introduction of the new tonnage to the Belfast-Cairnryan route, sailings times will be reduced to 2hrs 15mins. Ironically the new ferries which albeit will be the largest to serve on any North Channel route will actually be some 15 minutes slower on the newer-shorter distance route compared to the HSS fast-ferry operated Belfast-Stranraer sailings.
The second fast-ferry service is operated on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route using Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989grt) which is marketed as the Dublin 'Swift'. She runs year-round in addition to the cruiseferry Ulysses.
Also operating fast-ferry craft is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Manannan (1998/5,029grt) but this is on the none cross-channel route between Douglas and Liverpool.
Stena Line themselves will be looking forward to introducing their own giants when two of the largest ferries are to be introduced on the North Channel in the Autumn. The two chartered 30,000grt sisterships are Superfast VII and Superfast VIII. To see the vessel breaking through an an ice-flow, click PHOTO. The 203m long pair can take 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles. To read more about these 'Superfast' class vessels and the new £80 port terminal click HERE.
The company's area director Michael McGrath said: "It's quite fitting that we are teaming up with the Stena Line Belfast Giants at this time as we prepare to introduce two of the largest ferries every to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland when we open our new route and port in Cairnryan this November. The two Superfast vessels will be another two Giants to add to our team."
Last year Stena Line made a £40m acquisition of the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Heysham routes and four vessels from DFDS Seaways. The deal was approved by the Irish authorities but remained subject to clearance from the UK's Competition Commission until late last month when they fully approved the acquisition.
This brings to six routes the company runs on its Irish Sea route network where over two million passengers were carried each year, more than its rival ferry operators combined.
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