To coincide with the opening of the HSS on the Holyhead - Dún Laoghaire service, Stena Line launched a new freight service to Dublin operated by the Swedish-flag Stena Traveller. The new service would provide freight drivers with their own dedicated freight ship, a move welcomed by some Dún Laoghaire residents who were concerned about the increase in ro-ro traffic through their town.
Built: Fosen Mek Verksteder, Norway 1992.
IMO No: 8917380
Deadweight: 4,758 tonnes
Draught: 5.90 m
Class: Lloyds Register +100A1
LOA: 154.0 m
Beam: 24.30 m
Depth: 13.2 m
Capacity: 120 passengers
xx lane metres
Access: Bow and stern, twin level.
Stena Traveller was the second of a series of five ships laid down at the Bruce shipyard in Landskrona, Sweden but completed at Fosen in Rissa, Norway. The first ship debuted at Dover in 1991 as the Stena Challenger, but by the time she was completed at the end of that year Stena Traveller had yet to be allocated a route and was therefore laid up at Trondheim. On charter to Stena Line BV, the ship eventually entered service between Hoek van Holland and Harwich before spending the summer of 1992 in service with Sealink Stena Line on the Southampton-Cherbourg route. Next up was a charter to Germany's TT Line as the TT Traveller before returning to the UK to launch the new Holyhead-Dublin freight route in November 1995.
The Stena Traveller was a key element in the company's quest to revamp travel on the Holyhead routes, replacing the Stena Cambria. The switch over from the ‘Cambria’ to the ‘Traveller’ did not go as smoothly as it might have done. During her evening sailing to Dun Laoghaire on 5 October the ‘Cambria’’s port engine was found to be running hot due to a loss of lube oil. With gale force winds the engine was shut down and berthing at Dun Laoghaire was aided by a tug. An inspection revealed a wire wrapped around her port shaft causing seal damage. With winds gusting to Force 10, the Stena Cambria limped out of Dun Laoghaire bound for Birkenhead. In her place five days later came the Marine Evangeline, maintaining freight sailings to Dun Laoghaire until the opening of the new Dublin route.
The Holyhead - Dublin service was refined in September 1996 with the replacement of the Stena Traveller by the Stena Challenger. The move opened the fledgling route to passengers thanks to 'Challenger''s ability to accommodate up to 500 passengers. This was to prove to be of great value during the winter months when adverse weather affected HSS sailings on the Dun Laoghaire run.
Before she stood down from Irish Sea service the Stena Traveller crossed Dublin Bay to Dun Laoghaire, presenting herself to Stena Line guests assembled on the quay wall for the official naming of the HSS Stena Explorer on 16 September. A very fitting tribute to Dun Laoghaire Harbour by the master, Captain Roy Graves.
Her Irish Sea career complete, the Stena Traveller proceeded to Drydock for her off-hire inspection. Next for the ship was a return to TT Line for what would be a five year charter as TT Traveller. Another spell with Stena Line running, sailing between Karlskrona and Gdynia came in 2002. In 2020 the ship sails as Patria Seaways for owners DFDS.