Displaying items by tag: Loch Ryan
#FERRY NEWS - Demotix reports that the first ferries have sailed to Northern Ireland from the new £200m Stena Line port facility at Cairnryan in western Scotland.
The company's final sailings from Stranraer took place at the weekend before the official relocation to the new port, which lies closer to the mouth of Loch Ryan and the North Channel.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Stena Superfast VII is serving the new route following the mothballing of the Stena Voyager service.
The ferry and her sister ship Stena Superfast VIII are on charter from Scandinavian ferry operator Tallink, and are the largest ferries ever to service the North Channel route.
Images of the new Belfast-Cairnryan Stena Line crossing are available HERE.
"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.
The £200m development by Stena Line of the new Scottish ferryport will eventually see ferry services relocate from Stranrear to Old House Point. The current Stena Line service between Stranrear-Belfast is in competiton with P&O (Irish Sea)'s Cairnryan-Larne route.
The dredgers 'Argos' and 'Lough Foyle' operated by Londonderry Port Harbour Commissioners (LPHC) began the contract with PP McWilliams in March last year and are due to finish the dredging work by the end of this year. The project has created up to 900 jobs and the move of ports is to safeguard 500 seafaring employees when the terminal is due for completion in 2011.