Koningin Beatrix

Koningin Beatrix

The Koningin Beatrix began life as the flagship of Sealink's Dutch partners Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland, or SMZ. The ship was built in 1986 by Van der Gissen de Noord for the joint service Hook of Holland-Harwich service. The SMZ service was marketed as Crown Line. Three years later the SMZ operation was sold to Stena Line BV and ownership of the Koningin Beatrix passed to Stena AB, the ship being on-chartered to Stena Line BV.

Having been replaced on the North Sea by the HSS Stena Discovery the Koningin Beatrix entered Irish Sea service on 27 June 1997, but actually appearing at Pembroke Dock until ramp modifications at Fishguard had been completed. At the same time severe gales caused the outgoing Stena Felicity to divert from Fishguard to Pembroke Dock with 1171 passengers bringing the unusual sight of two Stena Line ships in service at Irish Ferries' southern Welsh terminal. It was not until 3 July that the final changeover took place, the Koningin Beatrix’s maiden sailing from Fishguard departing for Rosslare five hours late. At the time she was the largest ferry to ever operate on St George’s Channel. 

In 2003 the Koningin Beatrix was transferred to the Karlskrona – Gdynia route and renamed Stena Baltica and two years later she was substantially rebuilt at the Remontowa yard. The SEK 235 million refit included the refurbishment of the passenger facilities on decks 7, 8 and 9. A new vehicle deck was created from stripping the cabin accommodation on decks 5 and 6. Externally, a large vehicle door and ramp was constructed at the bow and number of lifeboats were also removed.

 

The Stena Baltica and her running partner Finnarrow were replaced on the Karlskrona – Gdynia route in 2010 by the Stena Vision and Stena Spirit. The ship was laid up in Lysekil. On the 24 January 2013 Stena announced the sale of the ship to Italian operator SNAV. Renamed SNAV Adriatico she took up service between Ancona and Split.

Although a very well appointed ship the Koningin Beatrix did not enjoy the same level of success on the Rosslare run as her predecessor, the Stena Felicity. She quickly earned a reputation for being rather difficult to handle and indeed on 3 August 1997 she demolished a section of the harbour wall at Rosslare while attempting to berth in an ENE Force 9. Having waited off the port all night for an improvement in the weather the ship proceeded to Dublin where she disembarked her 1200 passengers 20 hours after they left Fishguard.

 

Before she was replaced by the Stena Europe on 13 March 2002 the “KB” saw more trips to Dublin in adverse weather conditions and at one stage even put in an appearance on the Holyhead run. Another unusual diversion was on 13 July 1998 when she put in a passage from Cork to Roscoff on charter to transfer people and equipment connected with the Irish leg of the Tour de France race.

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