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jonno

Stena to lengthen Visentini's.

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News is courtesy of Shippax...

 Stena Line has decided to go ahead with the 36-metre lengthening of the 2005-built Visentini Class STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY, bringing the capacities of the pair close to that of its own E-Flexer Class under construction at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in China.

When completed, the lengthened STENA MERSEY and STENA LAGAN will not return to the Birkenhead (Liverpool)-Belfast route as Stena Line will meanwhile have introduced the E-Flexer Class STENA EDDA and STENA EMBLA on the route. Stena Line has not made any announcement as to the future employment of the lengthened Visentinis.

A contract between Stena RoRo, on behalf of Stena Line, and Sedef Shipbuilding was already signed on 29 March this year, but has only been made official now. STENA LAGAN is the first vessel to leave the Birkenhead-Belfast service for her lengthening. Once STENA LAGAN has been re-delivered, STENA MERSEY will enter the yard. The project will be completed during 2020.

The ships' lengths will be increased to 222.6 metres and the primary aim is to lift the freight and car intakes. The freight lanemetre capacity will be increased from 2,238 to 2,875 lanemetres and the number of cars on the dedicated car decks from 170 to 280. The maximum passenger capacity of 970 will remain unchanged, yet 74 cabins will be added, bringing the total to 194. This compares to 3,100 lanemetres, 120 cars (on a separate car deck), 1,000 passengers and crew, and 175 cabins for a standard E-Flexer.

The pair is currently stern-only loading and there were some concerns whether or not the 'Flex Bow' would allow for a conversion to drive-through mode, but thanks to Stena RoRo's 'can-do' philosophy the ships will emerge as double-deck drive-through vessels post lengthening with the stern ramp to be modified from wire to hydraulic lifting.

To comply with the global 0.5% sulphur cap, Stena Line's vessels in the Irish Sea will switch to low sulphur content fuel as of 1 January next year and Stena decided to not install scrubbers on STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY when they are in Turkey for their rebuild.

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While they are at it why don't they improve the angle of those ramps to get cars up to the top? At the moment (as with ETRETAT) it is quite hair-raising going up that ramp, particularly as there is usually a smell of burning clutches in the air ....

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5 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

I wonder which route(s) they could/would deploy them on after they have been lengthened?

The article mentions double deck loading, could that indicate Stena are planning to use them in UK waters. I’m not aware of it being used extensively anywhere else, certainly not in the Med.

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17 minutes ago, nick hall said:

The article mentions double deck loading, could that indicate Stena are planning to use them in UK waters. I’m not aware of it being used extensively anywhere else, certainly not in the Med.

Would a Roslare to Le Havre (or Cherbourg) service be an option? Given their new length it somewhat limits the choice of ports. Ed. 

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Plus the due to not having scrubbers installed  it narrows down the options of what routes they can service .

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22 minutes ago, Chef said:

Plus the due to not having scrubbers installed  it narrows down the options of what routes they can service .

How can BF operate to Portsmouth then if there are no Srubbers and no LNG in use yet? 

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Like Geest Line as well who have just been welcomed by Portsmouth with an increase in visits by their vessels on a new 5 year contract

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1 hour ago, Chef said:

Plus the due to not having scrubbers installed  it narrows down the options of what routes they can service .

They'll be running them on low sulphur diesel which is already emission compliant and is cleaner than petrol due to the DPF's.

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15 minutes ago, Paully said:

Like Geest Line as well who have just been welcomed by Portsmouth with an increase in visits by their vessels on a new 5 year contract

Makes sense. It would be bananas to fit expensive, and space consuming, scrubbers to a ship that probably spends less that 5% of her life in the English Channel area. Ed. 

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On 11/09/2019 at 12:55, nick hall said:

The article mentions double deck loading, could that indicate Stena are planning to use them in UK waters. I’m not aware of it being used extensively anywhere else, certainly not in the Med.

Having these as bow and stern double deck loaders will certainly increase these vessels versatility and considerably reduce turnaround times. I’m sure other operators will be following this closely, to see if it’s worthwhile converting their own Vinsentini’s (though Stena do seem to own the majority now!). 

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2 hours ago, Andy said:

(though Stena do seem to own the majority now!

I note that the Etretat and Connemara changed ownership to a Chinese company (Xiang), however that could just be a financing arangement, the AF MICHELA is still owned by Stena,

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On 12/09/2019 at 01:01, Tumnus2010 said:

Could they be used on Stena's UK to Hook of Holland routes. Hvh has twin loading I think?

Hook of Holland has two ro/ro berths one of which is twin loading but that berth is currently used by the Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica on the route to Harwich.

I can't see Stena Line replacing the two current Harwich to Hook of Holland ferries with these two vessels plus Killingholme is freight only.

It will be interesting to see where Stena Line decide to relocate them both.

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I’d happily put money on them going on Karlskrona to Gdynia.

Traffic on the route seems to be constantly growing, both ports have double deck loading, each ship does 2x 10-hour crossings a day so needs cabins for overnight.

Rumour is the last two enlarged E-Flexers are for the route but nothing has been announced.

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The smart money says they are going to the Baltic - the UK routes that would need them are getting E-Flexers.  The routes from the Baltic states in particular are experiencing a lot of demand, and the funding for twin level facilities will likely be forthcoming.  The twin level is needed for a reasonable turnaround time - bear in mind in vehicle capacity terms the enlarged Lagan/Mersey will be similar to E-Flexer.  They'll probably run on ULSFO, which so far as I am aware P&O use on the channel still and most Irish Sea operators appear to be intending to switch to for the sulphur cap (there has been speculation Irish Ferries might go down the scrubber route).  This is also what P&O's new-builds will run on, which also won't be fitted with scrubbers.  Its essentially fuel oil with the sulphur chemically removed.  

Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of issues with retrofit scrubber solutions with reports of hefty maintenance bills to go with them.  These problems are not universal, however.

Karlskrona - Gdynia is another option, though there has been a lot of speculation that they will get the enlarged E-Flexer's instead.  Perhaps an enlarged Lagan/Mersey could go there in the interim, however.

Edited by tarbyonline

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13 hours ago, tarbyonline said:

Karlskrona - Gdynia is another option, though there has been a lot of speculation that they will get the enlarged E-Flexer's instead.  Perhaps an enlarged Lagan/Mersey could go there in the interim, however.

Sorry Steve as much as I regularly enjoy and appreciate the work you put into niferry I can't agree.

I can't see Karlskrona-Gdynia getting any type of E-flexer or lengthened Visentini. Promowy terminal in Gdynia is simply too small to accommodate anything larger than Spirit or Vision which already overhang the berth and there is no room to even increase the berth by 5 metres let alone the 40-70m required. I doubt they'd relocate to the linkspan Finnlines use as the area has no space for a terminal, marshalling or passenger gangways.

My money is on Nynashamn-Ventspils getting new tonnage and then a switch from Liepaja to Riga for the Travemunde ships. Both of these routes can accommodate both E-Flexer variants and lengthened Visentini's.

These two Latvian ports are strategically very important to the EU and beyond.

Liepaja has been chosen by the EU to be a strategic air hub to take pressure of the massively increasing use of an expanding Riga and their port will begin to specialise in heavy industry. The Freeports of Riga and Ventspils have been expanding rapidly to accommodate huge amounts of Chinese imports destined for northern Europe, their TEN-T core road network is 95% complete plus their railway is very modern with a direct link to Asia, still improving to full electrification, 240kmh rolling stock and again is a strategically important crucial element of the North Sea-Baltic Basic State Network.

Within the next decade we will also have the Fehmarn Belt road and rail tunnel which will be a massive game changer for the ferries linking southern Denmark & Sweden with Germany especially with the dedicated direct links connecting to the Oresunde crossing.

I think before any of us speculate where these new build ships will be deployed, an occupation I enjoy as much as the next forum member, every mode of transport has to be considered and included into an ever expanding and improving transport picture.

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Gdynia is in the process of having a new ferry terminal built so size of ship won't be an issue.

What I wonder about is the degree to which Stena on that route would want to maintain the mini cruise market the current primary pair of ships enjoy. The longer eflexers might be ok for that if fitted out properly; stretched Visentinis with no real extra public spaces less so.

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57 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Gdynia is in the process of having a new ferry terminal built so size of ship won't be an issue.

What I wonder about is the degree to which Stena on that route would want to maintain the mini cruise market the current primary pair of ships enjoy. The longer eflexers might be ok for that if fitted out properly; stretched Visentinis with no real extra public spaces less so.

@hhvferry do you have any idea where the new terminal will be, Stena seem well entrenched in their little corner... out by the immigration museum perhaps? I think you make a fine point in reference to the current ship design and the market they cater for.

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10 minutes ago, jonno said:

@hhvferry do you have any idea where the new terminal will be, Stena seem well entrenched in their little corner... out by the immigration museum perhaps? I think you make a fine point in reference to the current ship design and the market they cater for.

As HHv says, they are building a new terminal.

More info here, but it will remove the existing size restriction.  It will also mean Stena can run an operation that doesn’t require up to 4 ships!

https://www.port.gdynia.pl/en/ferry-terminal/243-cel-projektu-promowy

When this was first announced there were suggestions they might somehow get Germanica and Scandinavica, but of course that was before Stena had up to 11 new ships on order (9 firm orders for 3 operators, but with rumours of more to come which will take the series beyond the current 9 plus 2 options).

I have heard suggestions the “cruise” element to the route isn’t actually that profitable, but haven’t seen any concrete evidence.

Edited by tarbyonline
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We've seen Stena do it before - put the current much longer Stena Germanica and Stena Scandinavica from Harwich - Hoek van Holland onto the Kiel - Goteborg route, taking extra freight and closing down Travemunde - Goteborg at the same time, which of course is what enabled the shorter Vision & Spirit to be rebuilt as double deck loaders and put on the Gdynia - Karlskrona route. Stena often refer to Sweden-Poland as being one of their star performers, currently in the hands of two quite old ships (although Stena do operate much older) and chartered tonnage (ie, a ship from Brittany Ferries). However, market conditions are quite different when travelling from Sweden to Germany compared to the Poland where the prices on shop shelves (especially alcohol which is what fuels a lot of the traffic on the Viking/Tallink/Silja/Eckero ships) are much lower than they are in Sweden.

Since NI Ferry shows the two longer ones coming into service in 2022 https://www.niferry.co.uk/stena-e-flexer-overview/ and if traffic is simply continuing to outpace the current ships, then it may be that Stena feel they can't wait. Whilst they lead Polferries on product now, it doesn't mean they will in the future, and it doesn't mean a new freight-orientated entrant couldn't come in.

2022 is a long way away, the E-flexers might be needed elsewhere by then or even go out to charter, I think Stena have always taken a more pragmatic view.

"Cruise" might be a lot of work for not a lot of return plus a customer who is transient, as opposed to freight which is generally year round and more regular. BF's own Spain services are undoubtedly much more about freight now than cruise. Same on Harwich - Hoek (although ever since the HSS) and same on Kiel - Goteborg.

Edited by Seashore
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2 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

As HHv says, they are building a new terminal.

More info here, but it will remove the existing size restriction.  It will also mean Stena can run an operation that doesn’t require up to 4 ships!

https://www.port.gdynia.pl/en/ferry-terminal/243-cel-projektu-promowy

When this was first announced there were suggestions they might somehow get Germanica and Scandinavica, but of course that was before Stena had up to 11 new ships on order (9 firm orders for 3 operators, but with rumours of more to come which will take the series beyond the current 9 plus 2 options).

Aha! so it will be out by the museum. 240m berth length makes a hell of big difference, thanks Steve...

 

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