The 30,285gt Stena Superfast VII at Belfast. She was built in 2001 by Howaldtswerke at Kiel as the Superfast VII for Superfast Ferries. In 2006 they were taken over by Tallink and the Superfast VII was chartered to Stena in 2011. She is in the present fleet. (Nigel Lawrence)


The Stena Group annual report of 1995 showed there was a total of 8,470 seafarers and shore based staff, with a total group operating income of 9.436 million Swedish kronor, and with the English Channel and Harwich to Hook of Holland routes contributing 40%, the Irish Sea routes 28%, the Kattegat routes 27%, and the Skaggerak route only 5% of the total income. There were a total of fifteen routes operated, and used by 15 million passengers, 2.7 million cars, and 930,000 trucks, trailers, containers and railway locomotives and carriages. The Group income was generated by ticket sales of the ferries, onboard food, freight income, and the arrival, departure and other charges of the four owned ports of Harwich, Fishguard, Holyhead and Stranraer.

Dan Sten Olsson was Chairman of the Group with a dozen other members of the Board, including six employee Trades Union representatives appointed from Swedish Trades Unions to protect the employment rights of crews and staff. Gareth Cooper was Managing Director of Stena Line (U.K.) Ltd. The current Board in 2021 also has a dozen members with Gunnar Brock as Chairman, Dan Sten Olsson as CEO, and including three Trades Union representatives appointed from Swedish Trades Unions to protect the employment rights of crews and staff. Sweden has had a stable Social Democratic Government since 1932, with a legal requirement by an Employment Act of 1973 for worker representatives on Boards of all companies, banks, mortgage and insurance institutions, and co-operatives with a minimum of 25 employees. Sweden also has a highly advanced system of social security.

In 1995 the company operated a fleet of 35 feries.

Seventeen of these ferries were long term leased or chartered. Rosebay had been built by J. J. Sietas at Hamburg as Transgermania for Poseidon Schiffarts OHG, and was chartered by Stena in 1983 and renamed Rosebay for service between Harwich and Rotterdam, and was then transferred to a Harwich to Hook of Holland service in July 1995, remaining until October 2000.

Stena Searider was built in 1969 as Finncarrier for Finnlines services in the Baltic, and after further service for other owners in the Baltic she was purchased by Stena Line in 1990 and renamed Stena Searider for service between Gothenburg and Travemunde. She served on the Harwich to Hook of Holland service between 1995 and 2007. She is still in service as Claudia M in the Mediterranean on a Gaeta to Trapani and Tunis route.

Stena Scanrail was fitted with embedded rail lines on her vehicle deck but has not always loaded railway wagons. She was built in 1973 by A. Vuyk & Zonens in Holland and became Stena Scanrail during the period from 1987 to 2015. She is still in service as Birdeniz on a Ambali to Gemlik route in Turkey.

Stena Seatrader was built for Lion Ferry in 1973 as Svealand for the Trelleborg to Sassnitz route, and was lengthened at Hamburg in 1982 and given accommodation for one hundred lorry drivers. She served on the Harwich to Hook of Holland route as Stena Seatrader between 1990 and 2008, when she was sold to Ventouris Ferries of Greece and renamed Seatrader.


Three of these above routes were operated in 1996/97 by high speed HSS 1500 catamarans, carrying both passengers and cars. The first HSS 1500 ferry was presented for inspection to the Stena staff, international press and the general public on 16th February 1996 at Lysekil on the west coast of Sweden after delivery from Finnyards at Rauma. She then proceeded down the coast to Gothenburg where she was again opened to the general public. The ports of Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire on the Irish side were completely rebuilt to take their HSS 1500, Stena Explorer. Holyhead gained a new entry to the port at Salt Island, with a bridge linking the eastern and western sections of the port. This meant that the traffic was led directly to the ferries without causing congestion through the centre of the town.

The 20,914gt Stena Searider was built in 1969 by Warsila at Helsinki as the Finncarrier for Finnlines. In 1976 they renamed her Polaris . In 1984 she was sold to Rederi A/B Nordo and renamed Scandinavia. In 1987 they renamed her Scandinavia Link and in 1990 she became Stena Searider. In 1991 . She was renamed Searider while on a 12 month charter to Principal Lines of Miami, and in 1992 she was chartered to Norse Irish Ferries and renamed Norse Mersey. She rejoined Stena in 1995. On 7th July 2014 she arrived at Aliaga to be broken up by Anadolu GS. (C. Reynolds)

Stena Discovery was the Harwich to Hook HSS 1500 fast craft, and when she entered service, both Koningin Beatrix and Stena Britannica (2) were transferred to other routes, leaving the HSS 1500 with no backup when her twice daily service was cancelled due to bad weather. Fast craft are much more prone to cancellations than the superior heavy weather ability of large Ro-paxes. The decision by Stena Line to introduce the HSS 1500 fast ferry on the Harwich-Hook route prompted a £12 million redevelopment project at Harwich, which included a dedicated berth and linkspan for Stena Discovery and major shoreside improvements upstream from the original port. Stena Discovery berthed on the outside of the big Ro-pax berth next to the quay.

The new Stena Jutlandica (3) of 29,691 grt in 1996 was the first ferry in the world to be fitted with catalytic converters on all of its engines to reduce sulphur and other emissions by 90% when she began in June 1996 on the Gothenburg to Frederikshavn route. She had been launched on 2nd March 1996 at the Krimpen yard of Van der Giessen du Nord in the Netherlands, and had dimensions of length 182.35 metres, moulded beam of 28.43 metres, and a loaded draft of 6.0 metres. She has accommodation for 1,500 passengers and 550 cars on her car deck of lane length 2,100 metres. She has a service speed of 21.5 knots from four M.A.N.-B & W diesel engines, and is still in service with Stena Line today.

In 1995/97, all of the Stena ferry fleet adopted the now familiar funnel livery of a central white ‘S’ on a broad red band between two narrow white bands, and with a blue top and bottom. This included the subsidiaries of Lion Ferry and Stena (U.K.) Ltd., with all of the Stena fleet then simply marketed as Stena Line. The Stena Bulk A/B tanker fleet had always had a black top and base to their funnel colours, and only in recent years have they been given a blue top with a black base.

Stena Challenger ran aground outside Calais on 19th September 1995 in a bad storm but was refloated during the next day. She had suffered extensive bottom damage, and was towed from Dunkirk on 28th September to the Tyne to have 220 tonnes of steel replaced forward of the engine room bulkhead. She returned to Dover to Calais service on 24th October 1995, having become the first Stena Line ship to be repainted in the new fleet livery. She had been launched at Landskrona on 6th October 1990, and had been towed to Fosens Mek Verksted for fitting out and delivery.

The 19,638gt Stena Discovery was built in 1997 by Finnyards at Rauma. In 2009 she joined Albamar CA as HSS Discovery for service in the Caribbean. On 27th July 2015 she arrived at Aliaga to be broken up by Sok GS. (C. Reynolds)

Subscribe today to read the full article!

Simply click below to subscribe and not only read the full article instantly, but gain unparalleled access to the specialist magazine for shipping enthusiasts.


Subscribe nowLog In


Sorry, comments are closed for this item