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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Stena Line

#FERRY DEPARTS FOR INDONESIA – An end of an era was marked this afternoon with the departure of the last passenger ship (including 'Sealink' car-ferry) built by Harland & Wolff, when Portlink, slipped down Belfast Lough, for the last time, for new owners in South East Asia, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Since November the ferry then named Stena Caledonia was withdrwan from Stena Line's Belfast-Stranraer route following the opening of a new €80m ferry terminal at Loch Ryan Port close to Cairnryan. The new route is also operated by a pair of larger, newer 'Superfast' sisterships built in 2001, while the older ferry embarks on a career with PT ASDP Indonesia Ferry (Persero).

Originally Stena Caledonia started her career as the St. David, which was launched in 1981 as the final member of a quartet of 'Saint' class near sisterships for Sealink/ British Rail. With her sale to overseas owners, she was the last of the Saint class still operating in UK waters.

Before today's start of the delivery voyage which includes a port of call to Gibraltar, invariably to call for bunkers, the 31 year-old veteran vessel, had been berthed close to the H&W's Musgrave yard. The St. David became the last vessel launched from that particular yard at the Queens Island complex. Incidentally she would also become the last ever passenger ship built at H&W.

For over the last two decades Stena Caledonia has provided a sterling service operating on the North Channel, firstly from Larne-Stranraer when Sealink was taken over by Stena Line in 1990 and then the route switched several years later to the Belfast-Stranraer route.

While in her earlier career as St. David she operated on two routes she was purpose built for between Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard, though she rarely served on the St. Georges service.

Instead she was deployed mostly on the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route alongside St. Columba, where these vessels featured a stern-bridge. The stern-bridge in itself also reflected an end of an era in ferry design,  this was to facilitate easier and safer access while navigating the tighter confines of the inner harbour of the Welsh port located on Holy Island.

In between her early and final years on the Irish Sea, St. David also ran on routes from Dover where Sealink /British Rail operated their 'Blue' Ribbon service to Calais maintained by two of her three sisters.

Published in Ferry

#STENA SALE SHIP- Irish Sea ferry stalwart Stena Caledonia (1981/12,619grt) has been sold to ASDP Ferry of Indonesia according to Ships Monthly. The vessel remains moored in Belfast awaiting her delivery voyage, which will be the longest ever she is to undertake in her career, writes Jehan Ashmore.

All Stena Line funnel and hull markings of the 31-year old vessel have been painted out and she has been renamed Portlink and re-registered in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

Since late November she stood down following the switch of Scottish ferryport from Stranraer to Cairnryan, where a new £80m Loch Ryan Port ferry terminal is served by two newly introduced and luxuriously refurbished sisters Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII. The pair built in Germany in 2001 have successfully been introduced on the new Belfast-Cairnryan route. 

Initially the Stena Caledonia was laid-up in Belfast at Albert Quay though in recent months she shifted berths to the former Outfit Quay at Harland & Wolff, ironically this location being very close to the facilities Musgrave Yard, where she built as St. David for Sealink / British Rail.

She became the last vessel to be launched from that particular yard on Queens Island and historically she is significant in that she is the last passenger (including car-ferry) vessel to be built by H&W.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS - A commemoration plaque in memory to those who lost their lives when the Irish Sea passenger ferry S.S. Patrick (II) was attacked by a bomb from the Luftwaffe during WW2, is to be unveiled in Rosslare Europort next Wednesday.

The tragic attack in 1941 resulted in the 1,922 tonnes vessel sinking with the death of 30 people while the twin-screw steam turbine powered vessel was on passage off the Welsh coast. The ship built in 1930 was launched from the Alexander Stephen & Sons Glasgow (Yard No 525) Glasgow, and she commissioned to serve the St. Georges's channel route between Rosslare and Fishguard.

She had been targeted by a German machine gunner the previous year even though it was not a military vessel and the reasons for its attack have remained a mystery to this day.

Diane Poole OBE, Head of PR and Communications at Stena Line said, "The ship that sank was owned by the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbours Company (FRRHC), of whom Stena Line along with Irish Rail/Rosslare Europort are descendants.

She added: "Despite the deaths and the trauma attached to the event, the memory of the ship and those who went down with her has largely been lost. There has never been a true commemoration in Ireland of the disaster – until now."

For further information about the tragedy click HERE and a documentary recorded for RTE Radio On can be listened to by clicking this LINK.

The current ferry operating the route is the Stena Europe (1981/24,828grt) which has maintained the route for the last decade. Sailings on the summer schedule will not be boosted by the fast-ferry craft, Stena Lynx III which was sold last year to serve new South Korean owners.

Published in Ferry

#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.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS – By this weekend three seasonal-only operated routes from the island of Ireland will have resumed service since the recent change of the clocks marking the start of summertime, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Sailings started today on Stena Line's Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead (120 minutes) fast-craft HSS Stena Explorer operated service. The central corridor route closed last September due to cost-saving measures as previously reported. For further details on sailing schedule click HERE.

The reopening of the Welsh route follows yesterday's launch of P&O Ferries fast-craft sailings to Scotland between Larne-Troon (2 hours) served by the 92m Express. She also runs additional sailings on the year-round Larne-Cairnryan route served by a pair of conventional ferry sisters. To read more information on both sailing route schedules click HERE.

The remaining route to re-open is Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff (14 hours) service operated by the 2,400 passenger 'flagship' Pont-Aven, which features an indoor swimming pool. Her first sailing for this year is tonight's sailing from the Breton port.

The corresponding Irish sailing departs tomorrow afternoon and the inaugural round trip is due to be completed with an arrival in France on Sunday morning. For sailing times click HERE.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY FORTNIGHT – With today's St. Patrick's Day festivities, the national event also coincides with the launch of our nearest neighbour's National Ferry Fortnight (17th-30th March) campaign held in the UK, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Each year around 13m people travelled between the UK and Ireland while more than 10m people took to the skies.

The UK has an extensive ferry network of approximately 50 routes including those serving the islands. Of the 11 shipping operators that are members of the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), five of them serve on routes to Ireland.

Those participating in the ferry campaign which operate on the Irish market are Brittany Ferries, Irish Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company,  P&O and Stena Line.

To read more about all the ferry firms participating in the National Ferry Fortnight campaign click HERE.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS- Stena Line have changed the resumption date of Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead HSS fast-craft operated sailings to 30th March,  two days earlier than originally planned and as previously reported on Afloat.ie

The seasonal-only service is to operate a daily single round trip with a 10.00 hours sailing from Holyhead and a 13.15 hours sailing from Dun Laoghaire. Sailing times are 120-minutes and they will run throughout the summer months until 11th September.

Stena Line's Head of PR and Communications, Diane Poole, OBE said: "We look forward to welcoming the HSS Stena Explorer back on the Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead route which will provide customers with even more reason to cross the Irish Sea during the summer months.

"The vessel, which offers excellent onboard facilities, will complement the timetable on our Dublin Port to Holyhead route as it offers customers a mid-morning departure from Holyhead and a lunchtime departure from Dun Laoghaire."

For more information visit www.stenaline.ie or call 01 204 7777

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS – St.Patrick's Day coincides with the start of the UK's annual National Ferry Fortnight (17-30 March) campaign which includes the participation of over 50 routes, including those operating on the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore.

This year's event organised by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) is to be brought forward two months earlier instead of May. According to the PSA the change of dates was designed to "emphasise the great value of family ferry travel at a time when parents have a watchful eye on budgets".

A new official logo will front the campaign's website www.discoverferries.com which is supported by all ferry line members of the association. The two week showcase aims to heighten consumer and media awareness of the UK's extensive ferry firms route network.

PSA members include Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries, DFDS Seaways, Hovertravel, Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company, Irish Ferries, LD Lines, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink.

The association estimate that around 35 million people, 8 million cars and 140,000 coaches were carried by ferries last year.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS - The captain of the 1,500 tonnes cargo vessel Union Moon which was involved in a collision with the passenger ferry Stena Feronia in Belfast Lough last night, has been arrested by police, according to BBC News.

An investigation is under way after the accident which happened about a mile and a half from shore between Carrickfergus and Helen's Bay.

The 27,000 tonnes Stena Feronia was on its way from Birkenhead, Merseyside, to Belfast when the collision happened at about 19:45 GMT.

Coxswain of Donaghadee Lifeboat Philip McNamara said the Union Moon, was brought back to Belfast.

No one was injured, but both vessels were substantially damaged. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said both captains had been breathalysed, to read more about this story click HERE.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS – A passenger ferry and cargo vessel collided in Belfast Lough last night and there are no reports of any injuries. The incident happened close to the Fairway buoy about a mile and a half from shore between Carrickfergus and Helen's Bay, according to BBC News.

It is understood that the ferry Stena Feronia (1997/21,856grt) has now docked at the Stena terminal. The other vessel - a cargo ship, the Union Moon (1985/1,543grt)- was accompanied by the coastguard as it was brought back to Belfast.

The ferry was on its way from Birkenhead, Merseyside, to Belfast when the collision happened, to read more on this story click HERE.

Published in Ferry
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