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Stena Hollandica (II)/ Stena Britannica (V)

The order for two giant ferries by Stena Line for the Hoek van Holland to Harwich route was placed with the Wadan Yards in Wismar, in the northern part of Germany. At the time the order was placed, financial markets were not as bad as they have become in recent years and Stena Line doesn't make a secret about the fact that if they knew what was ahead, the order would never have been placed. But the order had been placed in 2006 and the ships were already in far state of construction when worlds financials were at a big return. The financial downfall hit back hard at the Swedish concern when the Wadan Yards went into bankrupcy in june 2009, just after the first ship had been floated out under the name of Stena Britannica. It would have been the fifth time this name was used for Stena Line. For Stena Line, it was a path they already have been walking earlier when they ordered a series of four ships from Stocznia im Komuny Paryskiej at Gdansk, Poland in the end of the 1970's. These ships would also become the biggest ships of Stena Line, but the wharf went bankrupt during building in the beginning of the 1980's and the ships were delayed for years, the first of them entering service in 1987, some six years after she was launched in 1981. This ship has been the Stena Germanica untill this year, replaced by the former Stena Hollandica that came from the route Hoek van Holland-Harwich who will be taking the name of the Stena Germanica this year. The last ship of this order was later sold to be rebuilt as a cruiseship by Regency Cruises, taking the name of Regent Sky in 1989. The ship is still not finished and remains laid-up in Greece untill this very day. Also, when the HSS series was built, of the two smaller vessels only one was delivered to Stena Line, because also this wharf went bankrupt during building. The second ship was eventually scrapped. It seems Stena Line is not very happy in chosing the right wharfes to built their ships.

The first of the giant ferries, the Stena Hollandica, seen departing Hoek van Holland at the 24th of may 2010.

Talks between the wharf and a Russian investor were on the way and Stena hoped that the ships could still be finished so in september 2009 work could resume, because the wharf was restarted as Nordic Yards under Russian investment. Stena Line recieved a 24 million euro discount because of all troubles caused and it was agreed that a later delivery date would be inevetable. The ship was renamed Stena Hollandica in november and she had her trials starting at the 26th of march 2010. The ship was finally delivered to Stena Line at the 7th of may and three days later she started her journey from Wismar to Harwich, where berthing tests were carried out. On the 16th of may she made her first crossing from Hoek van Holland to Harwich.

An advertisement next to the entrance of the Stena Line terminal at Hoek van Holland during the introduction of the 2010 superferries.

The ship is the biggest ship in her class in the world, and with that the ro-pax class is meant. The ferry is by no means the biggest ferry in the world, although Stena Line continuesly told the world that these ferries were. But that title goes to the Color Fantasy and Color Magic of the Norwegian Color Line. With 75.000 tons, these ships are  bigger then the Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica, although the Stena-ships still measure some 63.039 tons. This makes them the biggest ferries on the North Sea at least. Some 1200 passengers can be carried at once on the 240 meter long ships. The ships have also a great capacity for rolling cargo, around 5500 lane-meters. The ships are 33 meters wide and their draft is 6,40 meters. 

In this picture, you can clearly see the form of hull-art that was added to the ships. This is the first time Stena Line uses a form of hull-art at this route. Earlier ships did sail with the website-adress at their sides though in the last years.

The second ship of the giant pair was launched from the Wadan Yard under her yardnumber 164 at the 7th of june 2009. Because of the earlier named problems at the wharf, work halted untill the workforce agreed to a lower salery instead of being laid off. Originally, this second ship was to be called Stena Hollandica, but because this name was now given to her sister, the second ship got the name Stena Britannica, that was meant for the first ship. The ship was renamed in november 2009, and delivered to Stena RoRo at the 29th of september 2010. 

Stena Britannica, arriving at Hoek van Holland on a beautifull but very hazy afternoon at the 9th of february 2011. While she sailed by, some damage to the hull was clearly visable over the total lenght of the ship, but particular at the bow just above water level.

A few days later, at the 2nd of october, she could finally leve the yard for Harwich, her homeport. Traditionally, one ship of the service sails under the British flag with her homeport being Harwich and the other one sails under the Dutch flag with the homeport of Hoek van Holland. For these ships, it is clear that the Stena Hollandica sails under the Dutch flag.

Stena Britannica again, the fifth time this name is used within the company.

The Stena Britannica sailed her first service from Harwich to Hoek van Holland at the 9th of october 2010 and was oficially named at her homeport of Harwich at the 20th of october by Susan Hammond, the wife of the Secretary of State for Transport, MP Philip Hammond. Although the big investment of 360 million pounds, Stena Line is sure that these ships will pay themselves back over time.

Stena Britannica entering the New Waterway at Hoek van Holland.

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