23 November 2011

Stena Line Ferries all change on the Irish Sea

Stena Line's Irish Sea ferry routes have undergone a rationalisation process to make the company leaner and more efficient. The Fast Ferries (large catamarans) have been trimmed so that only the summer service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire is still operated by these expensive to run vessels.

Among the casualties are the Fishguard to Rosslare fast ferry service, which will not be returning to service, although the conventional ferry the Stena Europe will continue to service this route twice daily. The Stena Europe Superferry service had benefited from a £1m refit in 2010, and to confirm its ongoing commitment to Fishguard, and the Fishguard to Rosslare ferry service, Stena Line has gone into partnership with investment firm Conygar to develop the port of Fishguard with a proposed new marina, housing development and promenade.

Stena has already announced a cut in its fast ferry service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire. This route is now served in the summer only by the Fast Ferry Stena Explorer. The Stena Adventurer and Stena Nordica superferries continue to operate ferries between Holyhead and Dublin port.

Holyhead continues to enjoy support from Stena Line and here also they have partnered with Conygar to develop the waterfront.

On a further positive note Stena Line ferries have moved their Cairnryan to Belfast ferry service to Stena Lines’ new £200 million port at Cairnryan in south-west Scotland. Previously the route to Belfast arrived and departed from Stranraer on Loch Ryan, but the narrow entrance to the loch meant a slow approach, losing time and burning fuel.

Cairnryan is at the mouth of Loch Ryan and this has reduced the travel time by three quarters of an hour and saved fuel. The new ships can maintain full speed until the last minute. Stena Line has also invested in two new ships, Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII. The new ships are the largest ever to sail the route. Automatic docking at the new port allows a faster turnaround.

Another positive devlopment for Stena Line took place earlier this year when they inaugurated the Liverpool Belfast ferry route, giving excellent access to Northern Ireland's capital city from the heart of the North of England.

Stena Line hopes this programme of modernisation and rationalisation will see the company continuing to serve the ferry routes between England and Scotland and Ireland far into the future.

More about Stena Line's Irish Sea Ferries