First of new Stena Line ferries for Gdynia-Karlskrona line handed over to the owner

Stena Estelle

The largest representative of the E-Flexer class so far was handed over to the shipowner by a Chinese shipyard on 24 May, reportedly slightly ahead of the contracted deadline. The 239.7-metre long vessel, named Stena Estelle (IMO No. 9862994; GT 48,035; deadweight 8,600 tonnes), is undergoing its final preparations before setting sail for Europe.

Due to the restrictions still in place in China due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the participants in the signing of the handover documents and the official handover of the ship by the shipyard, including – Stena RoRo CEO Per Westling and Nicklas Martensson, CEO of Stena Line, took part in the event remotely via live video link.

The ship’s operator (owner) is the company providing the financing for its construction, Financial Products Group Co of Japan, and on the part of the Stena Group, Stena RoRo AB, while the managing owner and operator is Stena Line Scandinavia AB of Sweden. Stena Marine Management ApS, registered in Denmark, is responsible for the technical management of the ferry.

The vessel will be employed on the Gdynia – Karlskrona line. This is the first time that Stena Line – one of the biggest ferry operators – employs completely new vessels on the “Polish” line – straight from the shipyard.

The new Ro-Pax offers space for up to 1,200 passengers and a 3,587-metre-long ro-ro cargo lane for trucks and a separate loading area for 200 cars.

So far, Stena Line has not revealed which of the existing ferries employed on the Gdynia-Karlskrona line will be replaced by the two new ones, or whether any of the ‘old’ ones will remain on the line at all.

Currently, the two main ‘passenger’ ferries on the route – Stena Spirit and Stena Vision – are supported, mainly for cargo, by Stena Vinga and Stena Nordia. The Stena Estelle and its as yet undisclosed sister unit (with the shipyard construction symbol W0271) have a significantly higher cargo capacity than any of the vessels employed on the line to date.

According to an earlier plan of the operator Stena Line, officially revealed at the end of September 2021 – Stena Estelle together with its sister unit were to replace the ferries Stena Baltica and Stena Scandica (freshly rebuilt – extended and modernised in a Turkish shipyard) from the Nynashamn – Ventspils line freeing them for employment on the “Polish” line. At the time, Stena Line declared to keep the third ship on the line.

The referral of “E-Flexers XL” to the Karlskrona-Gdynia line was officially announced in the first decade of April 2022.

Stena Estelle is a vessel of type (class) E-Flexer MkII – a lengthened (by 36 m, according to another source – by 25.2 m) version of the initial E-Flexer design. “The extended E-Flexer” has 50 per cent more cabin space (263 cabins), 30 per cent more passenger seats and 15 per cent more cargo space. Both ro-ro (cargo) decks are drive-through, i.e. have gangways and/or ramps at both bow and stern.

The Stena Estelle is the first ship in the E-Flexer range to be equipped with a shore power supply (shore power supply / cold ironing), which will provide a decisive reduction in emissions thanks to the ability to switch off the ship’s generators in port.

To ensure adequate manoeuvrability of the extended version of the E-Flexer Ro-Pax, a third bow thruster was added.

New ferries on the Gdynia-Karlskrona line will be able to make full use of the capabilities of the new ferry terminal in Gdynia, which accepts ships up to 240 m long and has a quay equipped with onshore power supply facilities (the first in Poland; such facilities have been available in Karlskrona since 2011).

Stena Estelle (shipyard construction number W0270) is the fourth of five E-Flexer ships that will be operated by Stena Line (the others sail/will sail in the colours of other shipowners – charterers outside the Stena Group) and at the same time the first of ultimately two in the colours of Stena Line in a lengthened version, and the seventh at all (regardless of the operator). So far, Stena RoRo has ordered 12 E-Flexers, of which it has so far taken delivery from the shipyard, as mentioned above, seven.


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