The Stena Line

Wednesday, 30 November 2011 - 01:31 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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The QE2 and Stena Voyager in Belfast Lough © geograph.org.uk / Albert Bridge

The QE2 and Stena Voyager in Belfast Lough © geograph.org.uk / Albert Bridge

Stena Line is one of the world’s largest ferry operators, with ferry services serving Scotland, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Norway, England, Wales, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. Stena Line is a major unit of Stena AB, itself a part of the Stena Sphere, a grouping of Stena AB, Stena Metall AB and Stena Sessan AB. Stena Line also owns the Swedish vessels of the otherwise German- and Danish-owned Scandlines.

Stena Line was founded in, and is still operated from, Gothenburg, Sweden, by Sten A. Olsson when he acquired Skagenlinjen between Gothenburg, Sweden, and Fredrikshavn, Denmark, in 1962. In 1972, Stena Line was one of the first ferry operators in Europe to introduce a computer-based reservation system for the travel business area. In 1978, the freight business area also started operating a computer-based reservation system. The first freight-only route started between Gothenburg in Sweden and Kiel in Germany. The ship was the MS Stena Transporter.

During the 1980s, Stena acquired three other ferry companies. In 1981, Sessan Line, Stena’s biggest competitor on Sweden–Denmark routes, was acquired and incorporated into Stena Line. This included Sessan’s two large newbuilds, Kronprinsessan Victoria and Prinsessan Birgitta, which became the largest ships operated by Stena by that date. In 1983, Stena acquired Varberg-Grenå Linjen, and two years later also the right to that company’s former name, Lion Ferry. Lion Ferry continued as a separate marketing company until 1997, when it was incorporated into Stena Line. In 1989, Stena acquired yet another ferry company, Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland (SMZ) (which at the time traded under the name Crown Line). SMZ’s Hoek van Holland–Harwich route then became a part of Stena Line. Stena Line doubled in size in 1990 with the acquisition of Sealink British Ferries from Sea Containers Ltd. This first became Sealink Stena Line, then Stena Sealink Line and finally Stena Line (UK), which now operates all of Stena’s ferry services between Great Britain and Ireland.

Stena Voyager at Milleur Point © geograph.org.uk - Mary and Angus Hogg Stena Scandinavica in Kiel © Sechmet Stena HSS Voyager © geograph.org.uk - Raymond Okonski Stena Hollandica in Harwich © flickr.com - Philphos Stena Germanica in Göteborg © Bo Randstedt-Danica Stena Europe rounds the North Breakwater © geograph.org.uk - Pauline Eccles Leaving Goodwick © geograph.org.uk - Peter Shaw The Stena Caledonia at Belfast © geograph.org.uk - Ross The QE2 and Stena Voyager in Belfast Lough © geograph.org.uk / Albert Bridge
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The QE2 and Stena Voyager in Belfast Lough © geograph.org.uk / Albert Bridge
In 1996, Stena Line introduced its 20,000 tonne HSS (High-speed Sea Service) vessels, which operated from Belfast to Stranraer, Holyhead to Dún Laoghaire and Hoek van Holland to Harwich. In addition to the three 1500-passenger HSS vessels, Stena Line ordered two smaller 900-passenger HSS vessels to operate on the Gothenburg–Frederikshavn route. Due to the bankruptcy of the shipyard, only the first of these vessels was ever completed. In 1998, Stena’s operations from Dover and Newhaven were merged with P&O European Ferries to form P&O Stena Line, 40% of which was owned by Stena and 60% by P&O. In 2002, P&O acquired all of Stena’s shares in the company, thus becoming the sole owner of P&O Stena Line, which soon changed its name to P&O Ferries. In 2000, Stena Line purchased yet another Scandinavian ferry operator: Scandlines AB.

In November 2006, Stena ordered a pair of “super ferries” with a gross tonnage (GT) of 62,000 tons from Aker Yards Germany for delivery in 2010, with an option for two more ships of the same design. The new ferries will be amongst the largest in the world, and will be placed on Stena’s North Sea route from Hoek van Holland to Harwich. The existing ships from the North Sea will be moved to the Kiel – Gothenborg route, whereas the ships from Kiel will move to the Gdynia to Karlskrona route. The new ferries are to be delivered in 2010, with the Stena Hollandica having entered service on May 16, 2010, and the Stena Britannica planned to enter service in the fall of 2010. The company also moved its Belfast Terminal from Albert Quay to the new VT4 during May 2008. This has reduced the length of the crossing to Stranraer by 10 minutes. In July 2009, Stena Line announced that it had repurchased its former ship, Stena Parisien, from SeaFrance. The ship is now known as the Stena Navigator. It had a comprehensive refit. Following on from this, the ship was introduced on the Stranraer to Belfast route, alongside HSS Stena Voyager and Stena Caledonia. In December 2010, Stena Line announced it had acquired the Northern Irish operations of DFDS. The sale includes the Belfast to Heysham & Birkenhead routes, two vessels from the Heysham route (Scotia Seaways & Hibernia Seaways) and two chartered vessels from the Birkenhead route (Mersey Seaways & Lagan Seaways). The Fleetwood to Larne route ended on 24 December 2010.

Read more on Stena Line, Stena Line – Routes and vessels and Wikipedia Stena Line. Learn more about the use of photos.


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