FerriesMarine AtlanticPast and PresentSealinkStena LineStena Sealink Line

MV Stena Challenger – Past and Present

IMO Number: 8917388

MV Leif Ericson

ex Stena Challenger

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

Steel motor vessel, built by Bruces Verkstad AB, 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, VOCJ
  • IMO Number: 8917388
  • Official Number: 821679
  • MMSI Number: 316001216
  • Registry: Dover/United Kingdom, St John’s /Newfoundland (Canada)
  • Sister Ship: Gryf, Stena Traveller


Location Data


Please note that this vessels AIS transponder and position data may be over an hour old and that this specific vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the MarineTraffic AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is no way related to the safety of navigation at sea. All the AIS ship position data featured within this website is provided by marinetraffic.com and we are therefore not responsible for the content or the accuracy of this data


History

March 13th 1990: Keel laid.

Stena Challenger –

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  

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Chris Wells

Courtesy of Terry Conybeare Courtesy of Terry Conybeare  

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

May 1st 1991: Completed.

  

Stena Challenger –

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  

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Terry Conybeare


© Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood © Ken Larwood

Stena Challenger – © Ken Larwood


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.

Stena Challenger –

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

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

© Fotoflite, Ray Goodfellow Collection

Stena Challenger – © 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

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Terry Conybeare

© Andreas Wörteler

Stena Challenger – © Andreas Wörteler

Stena Challenger – 🆕Andreas Wörteler  Collection (© Achim Borchert) 🆕© Ted Ingham (Right)

© Simonwp

Stena Challenger – 🆕 © Simonwp

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

Stena Challenger – Terry Conyberre Collection

© Ken Smith © Ken Smith  

Stena Challenger – © Ken Smith

Terry Conyberre Collection Terry Conyberre Collection  

Terry Conyberre Collection Terry Conyberre Collection  

Terry Conyberre Collection Terry Conyberre Collection  

Stena Challenger – Terry Conybeare Collection

© Andreas Wörteler © Tony Garner  

Stena Challenger – © Andreas Wörteler (left) and © Tony Garner (right)

© Pieter Inpyn 

Stena Challenger – © Pieter Inpyn  (Dunkirk 01/05/1993)

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

Stena Challenger – © Robert Fournier

© Mike Jackson © Mike Jackson  

© Mike Jackson © Mike Jackson  

© Mike Jackson

Stena Challenger – © 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

Stena Challenger – Nigel Thornton Collection

October 23rd 1995: Left the Tyne.

October 24th 1995: Arrived in Dover

Nigel Thornton Collection

Stena Challenger – 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  

Stena Challenger – © 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  

Stena Challenger – Courtesy of Jim Ashby

© Justin Merrigan © Justin Merrigan  

Stena Challenger – © 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

Leif Ericson – © Jarrod David

April 20th 2001: Renamed LEIF ERICSON.

© Jarrod David

Leif Ericson – © Jarrod David

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

© Jarrod David

Leif Ericson – © 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  

Leif Ericson – © Jarrod David

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

September 10th 2018: “Three crew members of the f/v “SULIAN” who had to abandon their burning ship were rescued by the LEIF ERICSON late on Sep 10, 2018, in the Cabot Strait. The captain and two crew members of Sulian had spent about two hours in the water. At 10 p.m. the Canadian Armed Forces Joint Rescue Coordination Center called the LEIF ERICSON. The Marine Atlantic ferry from North Sydney, Nova Scotia was en route to Newfoundland. The ferry diverted from its course to approach the burning ship, which was about 90 kilometers south of Port aux Basques. The three men wore survival suits, but had been in the water long enough when they were pulled aboard the lifeboats of the ferry. One of them was briefly hospitalized in Port aux Basques. The three fishermen are members of the Micmac First Nation of We’koqma’q in Cape Breton. They were brought back to Nova Scotia aboard the LEIF ERICSON.”.

June 1st 2020: Marine Atlantic altered the schedule for its ferry service as it responded to lower traffic volumes connected to Covid-19. 

There continued to be at least two daily crossings between Port aux Basques, Nfld. and North Sydney, N.S. during the summer, although the Argentia, Nfld. service was been suspended for the rest of the season.

November 23rd 2020: Normally part of the company’s schedule, however, she was kept on standby and would be brought into service if demand warranted it.

October 2021: Outside of planned maintenance, the vessel never left service and still operates on standby mode and is utilized when traffic warrants.

Leif Ericson 🆕


All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Jarrod David, Robert Fournier, Tony Garner, Pieter Inpyn, Mike Jackson, Ken Larwood, Justin Merrigan, Simonwp, Ken Smith, Chris Wells and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in compiling this feature. 

Special thanks go to Jim Ashby and Terry Conybeare.

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

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