FerriesPast and PresentStena Line

HSS Stena Explorer – Past and Present.

IMO Number: 9080194


Ex Stena Explorer

© Dirk Jankowsky

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. 

Technical Data

  • Cost: £65 million
  • Gross Tonnage: 19,638
  • Length Overall: 126.4 metres
  • Beam: 40.0 metres
  • Draught: 4.80 metres
  • 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: 68600 KW/93200 SHP
  • Propulsion: 4 x KaMeWa 160 S II Waterjets
  • Waterjet Capacity: 115 cu m per second
  • Alternators: 4 x Cummins V12 KTA 38-G3 @ 862 KW each
  • Speed: 50 knots (max), 40/25 knots (service)
  • Fuel Capacity: 224 cu m
  • Fresh Water Capacity: 20 cu m
  • Total Ballast Capacity: 1730 cu m
  • Emergency Stopping Distance: 470 metres
  • Capacity: Passengers: 1520/Cars: 375/Freight: 100 cars + 50 x 16m trailers
  • Call Sign: MVBD8
  • MMSI Number: 232002562 (Last Known)
  • IMO Number: 9080194
  • Port of Registry: London/UK 🇬🇧, Monrovia/Liberia 🇱🇷
  • Sister Vessels: HSS Stena Voyager (405), HSS Stena Discovery (406)


June 1st 1994: Keel laid.

May 9th 1995: Launched.

© Stena Line


HSS Stena Explorer – General Arrangement © Stena Line

January 1996: Towed from Rauma to Hangö.

January 6th 1996 – January 8th 1996: Sea trials.

© STX Europe

HSS Stena Explorer – © STX Europe

January 13th 1996: Left Hangö with icebreaker escort.

© Stena Line

HSS Stena Explorer – © 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.

© Stena Line PR © Stena Line PR © Stena Line PR © Stena Line PR

HSS Stena Explorer – © Stena Line PR (Dover, 19/02/1996)

HSS Stena Explorer – Nigel Thornton Collection (Dover, 19/02/2006)

April 10th 1996: Introduced between Holyhead – 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.

© Scott Mackey © Scott Mackey

HSS Stena Explorer – © Scott Mackey (Dun Laoghaire)

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.

© Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow  

Stena Explorer – © Ray Goodfellow (Sen on her berth in Holyhead)

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.

© Scott Mackey © Scott Mackey  

HSS Stena Explorer – © Scott Mackey (Arriving in Belfast, passing her retired sister vessel the STENA VOYAGER)

December 3rd 2012: Arrived in Belfast for refit at Harland and Wolff.

© Scott Mackey  © Scott Mackey

© Scott Mackey  © Scott Mackey

© Scott Mackey  © Scott Mackey

HSS Stena Explorer – © Scott Mackey (In dry dock at Harland and Wolff, Belfast)

December 12th 2012: Departed Belfast for Holyhead.

© Scott Mackey

HSS Stena Explorer – © Scott Mackey (A rather poignant photograph, she passes her sister vessel STENA VOYAGER for the last ever time)

March 22nd 2013: Resumed service between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire with one round trip a day.

© Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow © Ray Goodfellow© Ray Goodfellow

HSS Stena Explorer – © Ray Goodfellow (Departing her berth in Dun Laoghaire and heading out into Dublin Bay 01/09/2013)

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.

September 9th 2014: Final day in service and then laid up at Holyhead.

© Mike Griffiths

HSS Stena Explorer – © Mike Griffiths (Laid up at Holyhead)

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.”

Stena Line Press Release

October 2015: “Sold to Karadeniz Powership Osman Bey, Istanbul, Turkey who were planning to convert it into a high-tech floating office. Proposal to be used as a Research and Development project that can generate its own power with its Vertical Axis wind turbine and high-tech solar panels to provide better security in case of an earthquake and high living standards in our shipyard in Turkey. As a first step, there would be minor revisions and only some areas in certain sections will be furnished as office space. Full revision will take time as the extensive design and R&D processes were still in progress.”.

October 27th 2015: Renamed ONE WORLD KARADENIZ.

November 1st 2015: Towed from Holyhead to Yalova, Turkey by tug BLUSTER.

© Mike Griffiths © Mike Griffiths © Mike Griffiths

HSS Stena Explorer – © Mike Griffiths

© Aleksi Lindström

November 22nd 2015: Arrived Yalova and entered Karmarine shipyard. The owner, Karadeniz Holding, has converted it into an “earthquake-resistant” floating office, research space and alternative power generator for the community of Istanbul. It is part of ‘Karadeniz’ Powerships project. 

May 13th 2016: Advertised for sale again for around £4.5m – just months after it was sold. Now available for $6.5m, around £4.5m. The sale was being organised by their broker Taskin Torlak at Ocean Ship Brokers. It is listed on the Offshore Solutions Unlimited website which did not expect major interest in the vessel but hoped to help secure a sale. The other two HSS vessels have now been scrapped over the last three years.
Stena Explorer – 🆕© Google Earth (10/02/2020)

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, Mike Griffiths, Dirk Jankowsky, Aleksi Lindström, STX Europe and Stena Line UK for their assistance in producing this article.

Special thanks go to Scott Mackey for the extensive use of his photography.

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


  1. Were the HSS craft to big to fit through the entrance to Dover harbour ? Which meant they never operated for Stena from there .

    1. Not sure what the operational limits of Dover Harbour are, but the crossings to Calais, Dunkerque or Boulogne would really be too short to maximise the onboard retail opportunities. Even the Pride of Dover/Calais had to slow down at times to give the shops time to process the queues before arrival, and there’d be no time to get a meal onboard if you crossed to Calais at 40 knots.

  2. A nice article, Your technical data as a couple of incorrect points in. The ships in service speed was 40 knots, it was reduced to 25 knots in later years to reduce fuel consumption by only running two of the four turbines. the 40 knot service speed was well documented across all 3 HSS 1500 ships. A couple of the ex Stena Explorer masters are active in a Facebook group called ‘Stena HSS appreciation society. Along with the chief engineer who I believe stayed with the ship from the day the keel was laid up until she left Holyhead for the final time. They have provided a treasure trove of construction and in service photos, along with a wealth of information. They confirmed the maximum the Stena Explorer did was upwards of 50 knots. There was in fact an overspeed alarm which would sound when the ship went over a certain speed, possibly 45 knots. Anyway, yeah, the service speed was in fact 40 knots, reducing to 25 at the end of it’s life. With a much faster top speed. Great read though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button