© Andreas WörtelerMV Stena Challenger, Past and Present

01/11/2016: Page updated - NT

 

MV Leif Ericson

ex Stena Challenger

Courtesy of Chris Wells

Courtesy of Chris Wells

Steel motor vessel, built by Bruces Verkstad A/B, Landskrona , Sweden (Yard No. 20) and fitted out by Mekaniske Verksted, Trondheim, Norway (Yard No. 44) in 1991 as a passenger and roll-on roll-off car and commercial vehicle ferry, for Stena Rederi AB, Gothenburg

Technical Data

  • Length on Deck: 157.28 m (overall), 142.0m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 24.30 m (moulded)
  • Depth: 13.2m
  • Draught: 7.90 m (maximum)
  • Tonnage: 18,523 gross, 5,556 net, 4,598 deadweight
  • Engines: Two Sulzer Wartsila 8ZA 40S diesels
  • Power: 7,920 kW/10,767 bhp, 10,555kW/14,400 hp (owners info’ 2007)
  • Speed: 19.5 knots max
  • Capacity: 500 passengers , 480 cars or 100 commercial trailers, 250 cars or 72 tractor trailers
  • Call Sign: MNMC5 (1991 – 2001), VOCJ (2001)
  • IMO Number: 8917388 Official Number: 821679
  • Registry: Dover, United Kingdom (1991 – 2001), St John’s NF (Canada) (2001)
  • Sister Ship: Stena Traveller


Current Location

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History

March 13th 1990: Keel laid.

October 6th 1990: Launched at Bruce Yard, Landskrona. The hull was towed to Fosen Mekaniske Verksteder, Rissa for fitting out.

Courtesy of Chris Wells

Courtesy of Chris Wells


Courtesy of Terry Conybeare  Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare


May 1st 1991: Completed.

  

May 24th 1991: Delivered to Stena Rederi Ab, Göteborg.

June 26th 1991: Arrived at Dover for the first time.

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare  Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood  © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (all)

June 27th 1991: Commenced service for Sealink Stena Line Ltd., Ashford between Dover – Calais.

July 8th 1991: In a joint ceremony, at Dover, Christened together with STENA INVICTA.

January 6th – January 11th 1992: Refit at ARNO Dunkerque.

© Fotoflite, Ray Goodfellow Collection

© Fotoflite, Ray Goodfellow Collection  © Fotoflite, Ray Goodfellow Collection

 © Fotoflite, Ray Goodfellow Collection

1992 – March 1993: Commenced service as a freight only ferry between Dover – Dunkerque.


Courtesy of Terry Conybeare  Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

 Courtesy of Terry Conybeare


© Andreas Wörteler

 © Andreas Wörteler

1993: Stena full takeover of Sealink U.K. Ltd for a sum believed to be in the region of £259 million. The fleets livery was changed to reflect this fact, becoming Stena Sealink Line.

Terry Conyberre Collection

Terry Conyberre Collection

© Ken Smith  © Ken Smith

 © Ken Smith

Terry Conyberre Collection  Terry Conyberre Collection

Terry Conyberre Collection  Terry Conyberre Collection

Terry Conyberre Collection  Terry Conyberre Collection

 Terry Conybeare Collection

© Andreas Wörteler  © Tony Garner

© Andreas Wörteler (left)  © Tony Garner (right)

March 14th 1994: Introduced as a freight only ferry between Dover – Calais.

March 24th 1995: Commenced taking passengers from this date.

September 19th 1995: During bad storms grounded outside Calais.

© Robert Fournier

© Robert Fournier

© Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson  © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson  © Mike Jackson

© Mike Jackson

September 20th 1995: Re-floated and proceeded under her own power, with tug assistance, to Calais. Underwater inspection by divers (no great damage revealed – water very murky) – decided to proceed to Dunkerque for full hull inspection

September 21st -22nd 1995: Into floating dock Dunkerque, where extensive damage to Double Bottoms revealed. Vessel out to tender for repair

September 28th 1995: Departed Dunkirk – arrived at A&P Tyne Wallsend for repair – approx 220 tonnes steel replaced forward of Eng Room Bulkhead. She was also repainted in Stena Line colours.

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

October 23rd 1995: Left the Tyne.

October 24th 1995: Arrived in Dover

Nigel Thornton Collection

Nigel Thornton Collection

October 24th 1995: Returned to service between Dover – Calais.

December 31st 1995 (Midnight): Stena Sealink Line adopted the trading name of Stena Line.

© Andreas Wörteler  © Andreas Wörteler

© Andreas Wörteler

August 16th 1996: Final day in operation between Dover – Calais. Then to the A&P dockyard in Falmouth for alterations to her stern ramp.

September 17th 1996: Commenced service between Dublin – Holyhead.

Courtesy of Jim Ashby  Courtesy of Jim Ashby

Courtesy of Jim Ashby

© Justin Merrigan  © Justin Merrigan

 © Justin Merrigan

July 13th 1998: Chartered for a trip between Cork – Roscoff in connection with the Tour De France.

2000: Owner recorded as City Leasing (Teeside) Ltd

April 2000: Sold to Marine Atlantic, Canada for delivery in 2001.

April 8th 2001: Final day in service between Dublin – Holyhead. Thereafter to refit in the A&P dockyard in Falmouth, England awaiting delivery to Marine Atlantic, Canada.

April 2001: Taken over by Marine Atlantic.

© Jarrod David

© Jarrod David

April 20th 2001: Renamed LEIF ERICSON.

© Jarrod David

© Jarrod David

June 1st 2001: Commenced service between North Sydney – Port Aux Basques/ Argentia.

© Jarrod David

© Jarrod David

October 26th 2006: Collided with the quay in Port Aux Basques. The ferry’s bow hit a concrete structure at the harbour’s edge. Emergency power kicked in, but the crew was not able to restart the engines for several minutes. Taken out of service for repairs.

November 15th 2006: Returned to service.

2011: Major refit, including new livery, at Halifax Canada.

© Jarrod David  © Jarrod David

© Jarrod David

2016: Continues in service. Now the oldest vessel in the Marine Atlantic fleet.


We would like to thank: Jarrod David, Robert Fournier, Tony Garner, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood, Justin Merrigan, Ken Smith, Chris Wells and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature. All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for errors and omissions.

Special thanks go to Jim Ashby and Terry Conybeare.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)


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