The opening of the Cairnryan Stena
Ferry Terminal 21st November 2011 lead to
the closure of the Ferry Terminal in
Stranraer, ending a service
between Stranraer and Belfast that began
in 1862. Stranraer harbour area is now
set to undergo redevelopment.
The last three Stena ships on that
route were withdrawn from service and
replaced by the 2 sisters ships, Stena
Superfast VII & VIII. The ships taken
out of service were the 7,000 ton Stena
Caledonia, 9,000 ton Stena Navigator, and
19,000 ton Stena Voyager. The Stena
Voyager is a jet engine powered 40
knot plus catamaran that would have been
able to do the new crossing between
Cairnryan & Belfast in well under 2
hours. This ship had been operated
between Stranraer & Belfast from
entering service in 1996. The jet engines
high fuel usage led to this ship being
taken out of service after the service
between Cairnryan and Belfast began, it
will probably be put up for sale. Her
sister ship Stena Discovery was sold in
2010 to a company in Venezuela. A second
sister ship Stena Explorer will now only
be operated in the summer between
Holyhead and Dublin due to high fuel
costs. These are the largest fast ferries
in the world, the shipping equivalent of
Concorde, a fantastic design, just too
expensive to run.
Superfast VII & VIII are now the
largest ferries to have been operated
from Scotland. They are 30,285 tons, 669
feet long, with 10 decks and can travel
about 30 knots, crossing between
Cairnryan and Belfast in about 2 hours 15
minutes. They were originally built for
the Estonian ferry company Tallink in
2001 for the route between Tallinn
(Estonia), Helsinki (Finland) &
Rostock (Germany). These ships are ice
class 1A Super that allows them to
operate in extreme ice conditions.
Hopefully they will not be encountering
any ice in the Irish Sea.
The new ships have onboard facilities
such as free WiFi, free movies,
restaurant and exclusive Stena Plus
Lounge. You can also relax in their
Nordic Spa, with a jacuzzi & sauna.
Their POD lounge is an interactive zone
with all the latest in technology from
iPads to Xboxes.
The previous largest ferries operating
out of Scotland were on the run between
Rosyth and Zeebrugge, these included 2
superfast ferries at about 30,000 tons,
then from 2009, the Scottish
Viking at 27,000 tons. Scottish
Viking was replaced in 2010 by an 11,000
ton freight only ferry named Tor
Finlandia, there is no passenger service
on that route now.
The largest P&O
ferries operating between Cairnryan
and Larne/ Ireland are about 21,000 tons.
The next largest ferry operating out of
Scotland is the Hrossey
at 11,700 tons traveling between
Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland Isles.
The largest ferries running to the
Scottish western Islands are the 6,700
ton Isle of
Lewis running between Ullapool in
Northwest Scotland and Stornoway on the
Isle of Lewis, and the 5,200 ton Caledonian
Isles traveling between Ardrossan and
the Isle of Arran.
The largest ferry operating out of the
UK is the P&O Pride of
Rotterdam at about 60,000 tons,
operated between Hull and Rotterdam.