Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII (HDW 357/358)

Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII (previously known as Superfast VII/Superfast VIII).  

Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII were originally built for Superfast Ferries as Superfast VII and Superfast VIII for the service between Hanko (Finland) and Rostock (Germany) by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel, Germany.  Superfast VII and Superfast VIII where part of a series of 4 ships delivered to Superfast in 2001 and 2002 by the same yard (the other 2 are currently in service as Marine Atlantic’s Atlantic Vision (originally named Superfast IX), and Stena Line’s Stena Superfast X).  In 2006 the Finland – Germany Superfast operation was sold by its Greek parent Attica Enterprises to Tallink, and the ships transferred to Tallink ownership.

Superfast VIII near Helsinki in 2007 in her Tallink livery. © Oleg Popkov and displayed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.
Superfast VIII near Helsinki in 2007 in her Tallink livery. © Oleg Popkov and displayed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.

In March 2011 it was announced that Stena Line had agreed to charter the Superfast VII and Superfast VIII which were losing money operating for heavily indebted Tallink.  The initial charter was for 3 years, however on 5th February 2014 Tallink announced that they had agreed to continue the charter to Stena until Autumn 2019.  Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII replaced the previous conventional ferries, Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator, which had operated from Belfast to Stranraer.  On the introduction of the Superfast’s, Stena moved their Scottish port a few miles closer to the mouth of Loch Ryan, to a purpose built new development at Old House Point, just north of Cairnryan.

Stena Superfast VIII in Belfast Lough during the Tall Ships 2015. Copyright © Ross McDonald.
Stena Superfast VIII in Belfast Lough during the Tall Ships 2015. Copyright © Ross McDonald.

As the Superfast twins were designed as overnight ferries (for a 27 hr crossing) and Stena intended to place them on the new 2hr 15min Belfast to Loch Ryan Port crossing (which was replacing the Belfast to Stranraer link), an extensive refurbishment/conversion overseen by Stena Ro-Ro and Knud E Hansen was undertaken at the Remontowa Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.  This was rumoured at the time to have cost a total of €14m.

In order to be able to accommodate full height freight Remontowa raised the free height to over 5m in the centre 4 lanes of the upper vehicle deck.  To achieve this they rerouted obstructive pipework and cut away parts of the transverse web beams on the upper vehicle deck ceiling, whilst welding new pillars between the vehicle deck itself and the decks above in order to retain structural rigidity.  This allows Stena to carry a total of 30 double decked trailers (which are commonly used by supermarkets) on the upper vehicle deck when required. This was a facility Stena had not been able to offer before with the previous tonnage, unlike P&O.  The limited existing passenger areas towards the bow end on deck 6 were also removed to allow the upper vehicle deck to have the same free height throughout its length, and allow full drive through loading and unloading.  Previously the forward area of the upper vehicle deck only had enough height to accommodate passenger cars, due to the intrusion of the deck 6 passenger area.  There are 2 car decks below the main vehicle deck (deck 1 and deck 2) however these will rarely be used in Stena service due to their being ample space for cars on the other 2 vehicle decks.

Stena Performer passes flatmate Stena Superfast VIII while inbound to Belfast in September 2012. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.
Stena Performer passes flatmate Stena Superfast VIII while inbound to Belfast in September 2012. Copyright © Gordon Hislip.

Deck 8 was converted from a cabin deck to a public deck housing the Truckers lounge, cinema, pod lounge, living room, news room, magazine lounge, barista coffee bar, and Stena Plus lounge.  This involved removing a total of 128 cabins and installing new larger windows in place of the small cabin windows originally installed.   A limited number of cabin “suites” where retained on deck 10 and are available for the use of travelers for an additional fee.  Also on deck 10 is the pairs standout feature – a Nordic Spa.

The
The “Living room”, deck 8, Stena Superfast VIII. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

The majority of deck 7 is occupied by the Taste restaurant and the Met Bar (which has slightly raised flooring at the front of its lounge in order to accommodate the extra height required by the car deck below) with guest services, children’s play area, Stena shopping, and a video game arcade occupying the remaining space.  Deck 9 is inaccessible to passengers and is for crew use only. The interior was designed by Figura Arkitekter with outfitting in Gdansk undertaken by Newry based MJM Marine.

As originally designed Superfast VII and VIII had an operating speed of 28.6kn (and were capable of 30kn), though Stena operate them at less than this speed due in part to the increased fuel consumption of running a ship at high speed, and the reduced benefit of the increased speed on such a short crossing.  As the ships would not be required to operate at their originally designed operating speed Stena took the decision to install new propellers with blades designed for better fuel consumption – however, one of the ships almost reached 25kts in service during February 2015, proving they are still capable of more than their normal service speed.  The previous propellers had been selected to operate in Baltic Sea ice, a requirement no longer needed for operation in the North Channel.  A third bow thruster was also added in order to improve manoeuvrability in port, and all on-board systems where upgraded to ensure compliance with the latest standards.

A view of one of Stena Superfast VII’s propellers and rudders taken during dry docking at Harland and Wolff during 2016. Stena Line.

As the new port in Scotland had a TTS automated mooring system installed the ships where also adapted to work with this by adding 3 steel bollards on the starboard side bow.  This removes the need for traditional mooring lines to be used, though they still are. No shore personnel are required to operate the automated mooring system as it is operated from the ships bridge.

A shot of the automated mooring system at Lough Ryan Port, taken from the foot passenger walkway. © 2104 Steven Tarbox
A shot of the automated mooring system at Loch Ryan Port, taken from the foot passenger walkway.  Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

The two Stena Superfast’s are the largest ferries operating to Northern Ireland with a gross tonnage in excess of 30,000 and a length in excess of 200m.  Prior to conversion the ships could accommodate just 717 passengers (though the majority of these had cabins), whereas post conversion the ships can accommodate some 1200 passengers and 660 cars.  Stena Superfast VIII was voted the top ship in the Stena Line fleet 2013 and 2014 based on customer feedback.  A third sister, renamed Stena Superfast X and with a different layout and facilities, entered service on the Dublin to Holyhead route in March 2015.  We hope to add an on-board gallery of the Superfast vessels in the near future.

During March 2015, some areas of Stena Superfast VII and VIII where refurbished whilst the ships where individually dry docked at Harland and Wolff.  As part of this work, the colour schemes in the Met Bar and Stena Plus where changed to reflect the latest Stena corporate style.  Both ships where individually dry-docked at Harland & Wolff again in February 2016, this time with Stena Superfast X providing cover.

During her 2016 dry-docking period the upper vehicle deck onboard Stena Superfast VIII was modified by removing some of the supporting pillars and undertaking significant structural work to retain the strength and rigidity of the structure above and the ship as a whole. From a passenger perspective the most noticeable changes where  a refurbishment of the Spa, the provision of outside seating on Deck 10, 60” TVs installed in the Met Bar and upgrades to the passenger lifts.  Routine maintenance and painting was also carried out on both ships to refresh them after a busy 2015 season.

The met bar following its refurbishment in 2015. Copyright © Scott Mackey.
The met bar following its refurbishment in 2015, Stena Superfast VIII. Copyright © Scott Mackey.

Trivia

On Stena Superfast VII, when viewed from above, the uppermost deck is coloured blue. On Stena Superfast VIII this deck is sand coloured. This is one of very few differences between the two sister ships. Stena Superfast X also has this deck coloured blue, however she can be distinguished from her sisters by the lack of ‘wing tips’ on her funnel and some additional accommodation aft either side of her funnel.

Title image:  Stena Superfast VIII in Belfast Lough during the Tall Ships 2015.  Copyright © Ross McDonald.

 Deck Plans

Click on the deck layout image below to go to the dedicated deck plan page.

Stena Superfast side layout. © www.niferrysite.co.uk
Stena Superfast VII/VIII side layout. © www.niferrysite.co.uk

Technical Data

 

Stena Superfast VII Stena Superfast VIII
IMO Number

9198941

9198953

Design

 Deltamarin, Finland

Building Yard

Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG, Kiel, Germany

(Now part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems)

Hull Number

357

358

Keel Laid

29/06/99

29/06/99

Year Completed

2001

2001

Delivery date (original)

08/05/2001

11/07/2001

In service (original)

17/5/2001

16/7/2001

Conversion Design

Knud E Hansen A/S, Helsingor, Denmark

Interior design

(for Stena)

Figura Arkitekter AB, Gothenburg, Sweden

Stena interior fit-out

MJM Marine, Newry, Northern Ireland

Conversion Yard

Gdańska Stocznia “Remontowa”

(Remontowa S.A., Gdansk, Poland)

Conversion completed

09/11/2011

16/11/2011

In service (Stena Line)

21/11/2011

21/11/2011

Call sign (Stena)

2ZER3

2EZR4

Length overall (Between perpendiculars)

203.88m

(185.6m)

Beam

25m

Draught

6.58m

Gross Tonnage

30,285

Machinery (after Stena conversion)

•   4 x Wärtsilä-Sulzer NSD 16ZAV40S main engines producing 11500kW each (cylinder diameter: 400mm, stroke: 560mm), coupled to 2x 5.2m KaMeWa propellers via 2 x Schelde dual input single output gearboxes.

•   3 x MAN B&W 8L28/32H, producing a total of 1,848 kW each @ 510 rpm

•   3 x 925kW KaMeWa bow thrusters

•   1x 1350kW stern thruster

•   2 x Blohm+Voss fin stabilisers

Power(Max/Pme  @ 75%)

46000kW/36000kW

Operational speed (Tallink/Stena)

28.6kn/20-22 knots

28-29 knots maximum speed (pre-rebuild)

Capacity (for Tallink)

717 passengers (626 berths)

110 trucks and 85 cars

Capacity (for Stena)

1200 passengers and the following vehicles

•   Deck 5 (upper):     58 trailers – 5.05 metres free height (4 lanes)

•   Deck 3 (main):      52 trailers – 4.70 metres free height

•   Deck 2 (lower):     43 cars – 2.20 metres free height

•   Deck 1 (lower):     39 cars – 2.20 metres free height

1891 lane meters total (661 cars or 110 trailers or a mix of both)

Onboard Facilities in use

•   Stena Plus Lounge (chargeable extra)

•   Pure Nordic Spa (chargeable extra)

•   Superfast Suites (chargeable extra)

•   Taste restaurant

•   Metropolitan Bar

•   Children’s play area

•   Truckers lounge

•   Stena Shopping

•   Cinema

•   Pod lounge

•   Living room

•   News room

•   Barista coffee bar

•   Shop

•   Videogame arcade

•   Slot machines

•   Guest services

•   Wi-Fi (Free)

Flag (Stena)(Tallink)(Superfast)

United Kingdom (Belfast)

Estonia (Tallinn/Paldiski)

Greece (Piraeus)

 

The Stena Superfast VII and VIII deck plans can be found on a separate page here.

Video’s

A video by Neal Finlay of the TTS Mooring system at Loch Ryan Port in use.

Stena Superfast advert

Superfast conversion video from Stena RoRo.

Photographs

 

HSS Stena Voyager and one of the Stena Superfast's which replaced her at Belfast. Copyright © Gary Andrews.
The withdrawn HSS Stena Voyager and one of the Stena Superfast’s which replaced her at Belfast. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

 

Stena Superfast VIII on the berth at Belfast
Stena Superfast VIII on the berth at Belfast. Copyright © Gary Andrews.

 

Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII passing in Belfast Lough. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII passing in Belfast Lough. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

 

Stena Superfast VIII at Stormont Wharf receiving repairs. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
Stena Superfast VIII at Stormont Wharf receiving repairs. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

 

Stena Superfast VII leaving Belfast. Copyright © Alan Geddes.
Stena Superfast VII leaving Belfast. Copyright © Alan Geddes.

 

Stena Superfast VII deck plan (photograph). © 2015 Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VII deck plan (photograph). © 2015 Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VIII. Taken in the North Channel from Stena Superfast VII. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/niferrysite.
Stena Superfast VIII. Taken in the North Channel from Stena Superfast VII. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/niferrysite.

 

Stena Superfast VII in open sea. Taken from Stena Superfast VIII. © 2014 Steven Tarbox

 

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Stena Superfast VII approaches her berth in Belfast © Steven Tarbox / niferrysite.co.uk

 

Stena Superfast VIII. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/NIFerrySite.
Stena Superfast VIII. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/NIFerrySite.

 

Stena Superfast VII on her Belfast berth preparing for another departure to Cairnryan. © niferrysite.co.uk
Stena Superfast VII on her Belfast berth preparing for another departure to Cairnryan. © niferrysite.co.uk

 

Stena Superfast VIII at Belfast. © Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VIII at Belfast. © Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VII approaching Belfast during 2013's cold weather © Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VII approaching Belfast during 2013’s cold weather © Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VIII approaching Belfast on a very cold January afternoon in 2013 © niferrysite.

 

Stena Superfast VIII approaching Belfast just before dark in July 2014. © 2014 Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VIII approaching Belfast just before dark in July 2014. © 2014 Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VIII sailing along Belfast Lough towards the Irish Sea
Stena Superfast VIII sailing along Belfast Lough towards the Irish Sea.  © 2014 Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VIII in the process of turning around to depart the Port of Belfast. © 2014 Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VIII in the process of turning around to depart the Port of Belfast. © 2014 Steven Tarbox

 

Shot of Stena Superfast VII's lifeboats taken from the Sun Deck on deck 10. © Steven Tarbox/niferrysite
Shot of Stena Superfast VII’s lifeboats taken from the Sun Deck on deck 10. Stena Hibernia is just visible in the background approaching Belfast. © Steven Tarbox

 

Stena Superfast VII preparing to load her cargo at Loch Ryan Port. Taken from the foot passenger gangway. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/NIFerrysite.
Stena Superfast VII preparing to load her cargo at Loch Ryan Port. Taken from the foot passenger gangway. © 2015 Steven Tarbox/NIFerrysite.

 

Stena Superfast VIII, laid over at Belfast's Stormont Wharf for planned maintenance, on Saturday 17th October 2015. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Stena Superfast VIII, laid over at Belfast’s Stormont Wharf for planned maintenance on Saturday 17th October 2015. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 The Stena Superfast VII and VIII deck plans can be found on a separate page here.

Article Copyright © Steven Tarbox (NIFerrySite).  Title image: Stena Superfast VIII in Belfast Lough during the Tall Ships 2015.  Copyright © Ross McDonald.

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