HSS Stena Explorer
© Dirk Jankowsky
Twin hulled SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) aluminium catamaran, designated the ‘HSS 1500′ class , built by Finnyards, Rauma, Finland (Yard No.404), for Stena Rederi Ab, Goteborg. Launched on the 9th May 1995 she was delivered to Stena Line AB on the 11th February 1996.
- Cost: £65 million
- Gross Tonnage: 19,638
- Length Overall: 126.4 metres
- Beam: 40.0 metres
- Draught: 4.80 metres
- Speed: 40 knots (max), 25 knots (service)
- Ship Type: High Speed Passenger / Car Ferry
- Class: Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
- Passengers: 1520
- Cars: 375
- Freight: 100 cars + 50 x 16m trailers
- Year of Build: 1996
- Ship Builder: Finnyards Oy, Rauma, Finland
- Port of Registry: London
- Flag: United Kingdom
- Owner: Stena Line AB
- IMO Number: 9080194
- MMSI Number: 232002562
- Call Sign: MVBD8
- Engines: 2 x GE LM2500 Gas Turbines @20.5 MW each, 2 x GE LM, 2 x GE LM1600 Gas Turbines @13.8 MW each
- Power: 68,600 KW (93,200 SHP)
- Propulsion: 4 x KaMeWa 160 S II Waterjets
- Waterjet Capacity: 115m3 per second
- Alternators: 4 x Cummins V12 KTA 38-G3 @ 862 KW each
- Fuel Capacity: 224 m3
- Fresh Water Capacity: 20 m3
- Total Ballast Capacity: 1730 m3
- Emergency Stopping Distance: 470 metres
- Sister Vessels: Stena Voyager and HSS Discovery
June 1st 1994: Keel laid.
May 9th 1995: Launched.
General Arrangement © Stena Line
January 1996: Towed from Rauma to Hangö.
January 6th 1996 – January 8th 1996: Sea trials.
© STX Europe
January 13th 1996: Left Hangö with icebreaker escort.
© Stena Line
February 11th 1996: Delivered to Stena Rederi Ab, Göteborg.
February 16th 1996: Showcased in Lysekil.
February 16th 1996: Registered to Stena Ferries Ltd, London, England.
February 19th 1996: During her delivery voyage she stopped off Dover for a Public Relations call. She paused for pictures with the STENA CHALLENGER and the STENA LYNX II before continuing her journey to Holyhead for final trials prior to taking up service into Dun Laoghaire.
Dover 19/02/96 © Stena Line PR
Nigel Thornton Collection
April 10th 1996: Introduced between – Dun Laoghaire.
September 14th 1996: Christened.
April 10th 1996: Inaugural sailing Dun-Laoghaire – Holyhead.
March 14th 1997: Overhaul in Rotterdam.
September 20th 2001: Whilst entering Holyhead there was a fire caused by a failure of a compression fitting on an element of the fuel piping of the aft generator of the port pontoon. The fire was automatically extinguished and there were no injuries.
October 2004: Had to turn back to port after a wave damaged the ship’s hull 30 minutes into its voyage out of Holyhead.
January 8th 2006 – January 15th 2006: Operated between Belfast – Stranraer.
January 15th 2006 – February 10th 2006: Laid up in Holyhead.
February 15th 2006: Whilst on a journey to Holyhead the vessel struck a submerged object and was holed beneath the waterline. No-one was injured and she docked safely at Holyhead. Taken off service for repairs.
March 10th 2006: Anticipated return to service.
May 27th 2006: Off service due to “technical problems”. Resumed the same day.
January 7th 2007 – February 24th 2007: £1.7 million refurbishment at Harland & Wolff, Belfast.
Dun Laoghaire © Scott Mackey
2009: Registered owner, HSS 1 Ltd, London (Care of Stena Line, Holyhead), England. (Management Stena Line Ltd, Holyhead, England)
March 15th 2010 – May 26th 2010: Replaced on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire route by the STENA LYNX III.
May 26th 2010: Returned to service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire
September 14th 2010: Completed service from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route with the 13:15 departure from Dun Laoghaire. She was replaced on the route by the STENA LYNX III which operated the route until Sunday 9 January 2011
April 1st 2011: Commenced seasonal service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire.
Stena Explorer seen on her berth in Holyhead © Ray Goodfellow
June 9th-22nd 2011: Operated two round trips a day to cover the STENA ADVENTURER, which was off service her refit in Liverpool.
September 13th 2011: Completed seasonal service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire, laid up in Holyhead.
March 30th 2012: Commenced seasonal service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire.
September 11th 2012: Completed seasonal service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire, laid up in Holyhead.
Arriving in Belfast, passing her retired sister vessel the Stena Voyager © Scott Mackey
December 3rd 2012: Arrived in Belfast for refit at Harland and Wolff.
In dry dock at Harland and Wolff, Belfast © Scott Mackey
December 12th 2012: Departed Belfast for Holyhead.
A rather poignant photograph, the Stena Explorer passes her sister vessel Stena Voyager for the last ever time © Scott Mackey
March 22nd 2013: Resumed service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire with one round trip a day.
Stena Explorer departing her berth in Dun Laoghaire and heading out into Dublin Bay 01/09/13 © Ray Goodfellow
September 10th 2013: Due to be withdrawn from service following her seasonal service to Dun Laoghaire. She will return for a week of service in December 2013 to help with the Christmas peak.
February 4th 2015: It was announced that the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire service operated by the Stena Explorer would not re-open for the 2015 summer season and in future Stena Line would focus all ferry crossings on the central corridor to the port of Dublin.
Stena Line today announced a consolidation of its services from Holyhead to Dublin Port. The company has stated that it will be concentrating on expanding its existing ferry service at Dublin Port while at the same time confirming that it is withdrawing its HSS Stena Explorer service from Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Route Manager for Irish Sea South, said: “With two services operating approx. 10 miles apart we needed to make a decision in relation to what operation best serves the needs of our customers now and in the years ahead, and that operation is Dublin Port.”
Stena Line has operated the HSS Stena Explorer into Dun Laoghaire since 1995 during which time the vessel has carried a mix of passengers, car and coach traffic. The Dun Laoghaire service was successful for several years following its introduction, carrying over 1.7 million passengers annually during its peak in 1998. However, post the withdrawal of ‘duty free’ shopping, passenger and cars volumes declined dramatically and by 2014, less than 200,000 ferry passengers travelled through Dun Laoghaire Harbour. This represented a decline of over 90% in volume, making the route unsustainable.
Ian Davies added: “While we have enjoyed a very professional working relationship with Dun Laoghaire Harbour over many years, the economic realities of the current situation in relation to our business levels have left us with no choice but to close the service. Dublin continues to grow in importance, not only as the core freight port for Ireland but also as the key tourism gateway into Ireland.”
All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Micke Asklander, Dirk Jankowsky, STX Europe and Stena Line UK for their assistance in producing this article. A special thanks goes to Scott Mackey for the extensive use of his photography.