Despite the ongoing pandemic, ferry company Stena Line has achieved another important milestone in its major new fleet investment programme with the ‘launching’ ceremony of the first new extended E-Flexer vessel in Weihai, China. The vessel was ordered in 2018, the construction started in 2020 and the delivery is expected in 2022.
Stena Line is well underway in modernising its large European fleet of ferries and has not let the ongoing pandemic affect these ambitious plans. The new vessel that took to the water for the first time on 24 May is the fourth out of five new next generation E-Flexer vessels that are are designed and built in collaboration with the sister company Stena RoRo at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China. The vessels are among the world’s most modern and efficient RoPax vessels. The three first vessels have already started to operate on the Irish Sea during 2020 and 2021.
”The E-Flexer vessels represent an important part of our sustainable growth journey for the future and we look forward to welcoming two more vessels to our fleet next year. The first three vessels are making waves with our appreciative customers across the Irish Sea and both their flexibility and efficiency has already made them great assets for the company during the pandemic and following Brexit” says Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line Group.
The fourth and the fifth vessel will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 length meters, compared to the first three which are 214 meters long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length meters. In total, the larger vessels also get 50 % more cabins and beds, 30 % increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% cargo capacity. The name of the new vessel and the locations where it will operate between will be announced later this year.
Among the distinguishing features are:
- Efficient loading and unloading with drive-through lanes on the two levels.
- Up to 30 % more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet, thanks to optimum design of the hulls, propellers, bulbs and rudders.
- All five vessels are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or LNG fuel.
- The two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables a conversion to battery hybrid in the future.
- Stena Lines’ Scandinavian heritage is clearly visible on the interior and the design is spacious and light, with amazing panoramic views.
”Despite the challenges connected to the pandemic we have been able to deliver our newbuildings in time and thereby enabling Stena Line to perform their fleet renewal program as planned, says Per Westling, Managing Director of Stena RoRo.