Displaying items by tag: Visentini ropax
#FERRY NEWS – A £4m upgrade of Stena Line's Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) sisters has been completed at Harland & Wolff. The work was carried on the pair of 27,000 tonnes ships by Newry based specialist marine outfitters MJM Marine, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Work on the 980-passenger vessels Stena Mersey and Stena Lagan began in March and ended last month. During that timeframe the Stena Feronia which was in a collision with a cargoship in Belfast Lough, was deployed to cover the overhaul of the sisters, now sporting Stena Line livery.
The investment programme introduced on board entails facilities such as a lounge pod-area featuring several iMacs, a trucker's lounge, free wi-fi and a bar & grill and a restaurant.
In addition the refurbishment has improved customer experience with the inclusion of an improved shop, improved guest services, and cinema offering guests free movies during the north Irish Sea crossing.
The pair built by Visentini, the Italian shipbuilder based near Venice, can handle 2,662 freight lane metres are now owned by a subsidiary of Stena Line, in the form of Stena RoRo which purchased the vessels from a German bank.
Beforehand the ferries were part of Epic Shipping which chartered them in turn to DFDS Seaways. The Danish owned operator's short-lived Irish Sea route network venture was sold last year to Stena which included the sisterships.
Stena RoRo also purchased the Visentini built ro-pax Watling Street and also from the same yard the former Celtic Link ro-pax Norman Voyager, which is currently back on its original Portsmouth-Le Havre route running on charter to French ferry operator LD Lines.
Meanwhile Celtic Link's existing Rosslare-Cherbourg route vessel Celtic Horizon, is on a five year charter from an offshoot of the same Italian shipbuilder and again is another vessel of the successful ro-pax design.
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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The changeover of vessels coincides with the existing Rosslare-Cherbourg sailing schedule of three round-trips per week, noting there are no sailings from the Wexford port on Mondays. Celtic Horizon is due to be introduced with her maiden 'Irish' voyage on Tuesday night, departing Rosslare at 21.30hrs. On the following Monday she is to be officially launched onto the service.
Celtic Horizon will boost capacity on the French route, offering a wider choice of restaurants, bars and a children's play-room. She can carry 840 passengers, 200 cars and 120 freight vehicles. The 186m ferry is from a ro-pax series (including Norman Voyager) designed and built by Cantiere Navala Visentini based in Portoviro, outside Venice.
During her five-day repositioning route from the Mediterranean, Celtic Horizon made an en-route call to Gibralter, anchoring off the British colony on Thursday. Another of the same Visentini ro-pax class vessels, Cartour Epilson is believed to have taken over Celtic Horizon, formerly named Cartour Beta when she served her last season between Termini Imerese in Sicily to Salerno while on charter to C&T.
CLF will be the only ferry operator running services to France, between 2 January -19 February 2012, as Irish Ferries, which also operates on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, will be taking off Oscar Wilde for annual dry-docking. For schedules click HERE.
In addition there will be no sailings between Cork-Roscoff, as Brittany Ferries final sailing for this year is 29 October, served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven. The 2012 season starts in late March.
With an increased capacity of nearly 1,000 passengers accommodated in 428 cabin berths, the vessel will offer a wider choice of bars, restaurents and childrens' play area compared to the current route ro-pax Norman Voyager, which like her successor was built by Italian shipbuilders Visentini. The 25-knot replacement ship will have 2,285 lane metre space for 800 cars or 150 freight vehicles.
Celtic Horizon becomes the first vessel to incorporate the companies name since foundation in 2005 when the freight-ferry Diplomat started operations. In recent years the company has secured the contract to import new trade vehicles from French manufacturers.
Before the newcomer makes her Autumnal debut, the 2006 built vessel is currently operating as Cartour Beta while on charter to Caronte and Tourist's (C&T) Salerno-Messina service in Sicily. To read more click here.
As for the Norman Voyager, she first entered as a newbuild in 2008 for LD Lines weekend operated Rosslare-Le Havre route, subsequently transferred to Cherbourg. LD Lines first foray into the Irish market was short-lived as the ro-pax was sub-chartered to Celtic Link Ferries the following year, though the French company are to transfer the vessel to their Marseilles-Tunis route in November.
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