Stena Superfast X
Entering service at Holyhead early in 2015, the Stena Superfast X replaces the smaller Stena Nordica and with additional capacity and facilities greatly enhances Stena Line's service at a time when commercial and leisure traffic between Ireland and Britain are showing encouraging signs of future growth.
Built by HDW at Kiel in Germany for Superfast Ferries' new Baltic Sea services in 2001, the Superfast X was the last ship in a series of four identical ice classed fast conventional ferries.She was launched on 18 November 2000, on the same date as her sisters Superfast VIII and Superfast IX. In March 2006 Superfast Ferries sold their Baltic Sea operations (Superfast VII, Superfast VIII and Superfast IX) to the Estonia-based Tallink. According to the agreement Tallink could continue utilising the Superfast brand until the end of 2007 at latest. In August 2006, Superfast Ferries announced it had sold the Superfast X to Veolia Transport for Euro112 million.
The ship was delivered to her new owners during the following February and renamed Jean Nicoli. There then followed something of a nomadic career. No sooner had she arrived with her new owners then she was briefly chartered to COTUNAV for service from Italy and France to Tunisia. She was then laid up, initially at La Seyne and later at Marseille. From September to October 2007 she was chartered to ANEK Lines for service on its Patras—Corfu—Igoumenitsa—Venice route. Shortly afterwards the ship was sold to SeaFrance.
The Jean Nicoli was delivered to SeaFrance in April 2008 and renamed SeaFrance Molière. The ship sailed to the Arno yard at Dunkerque where she was refitted for use on the short Calais - Dover service. After transfer to the leasing company Sarl Poquelin Bail, she entered service with SeaFrance in freight only operation on 19th August 2008 taking up passenger service on 1st September.
Stena Superfast X
2002, HDW, Kiel, Germany.
203.90 metres OA
Bow and stern
The SeaFrance Molière was far from successful on the Calais - Dover crossing. The purchase was a rash move at a time when SeaFrance was already struggling, probably engineered by accountants in Paris – she was in essence transferred from one state-owned concern to another. The ship, a narrow-beamed, conventional fast ferry designed for overnight passages, was totally unsuited for the 35-kilometre Dover Strait crossing and her conversion to a "day ship" left a lot to be desired.
For Stena Line, the ship will be fully refitted before taking up her position on the Dublin-Holyhead service in early 2015. The vessel will have a range of facilities including dedicated passenger and freight driver lounges, Barista Coffee House, Met Bar and Grill, a retail shopping outlet and other areas for passengers to relax and enjoy their crossing including Stena Line’s award winning signature premium lounge, Stena Plus. The Stena Superfast X is a sister ship of Cairnryan's award winning Stena Superfast VII and VIII. She has capacity for up to 1,200 passengers and provides almost 2 km of lane space to accommodate a mix of car and freight traffic.
The allocation of the Stena Superfast X to Holyhead followed months of speculation, fuelled when ramp and loading door specialist MacGregor announced that they received a contract from Stena to convert the 29,800gt ropax ferry to optimise it for Holyhead. In response Peter Arvidsson Director Network & Fleet at Stena Line said "Although it is correct that MacGregor has been appointed by Stena RoRo to return the vessel to its original configuration, where the vessel will be deployed is currently a matter for ongoing discussion. From Stena Line's perspective it is possible that the Superfast X will be used within the Stena Line network or she may be chartered to a third party operator, but no decision has yet been taken".
Under the command of senior master Captain Richard Davies the ship left the Polish shipyard in Gdynia on 22 February and arrived at her new home port four days later.
With no fewer than 10 decks, the Stena Superfast X has the capacity to carry up to 1200 passengers and offers almost two kilometres of lane space for freight traffic and other vehicles - while another significant development for the freight market is the ship’s ability to accommodate 4.65m high trailers.
The Stena Superfast X makes two return sailings daily between Holyhead and Dublin, completing the crossing in 3 hours and 15 minutes. The ship operates alongside the Stena Adventurer, providing Stena Line customers with a choice of up 28 return sailings per week all year round on the route.