Hoek van Holland to Killingholme
In october 2000, Stena Line opened another route from The Netherlands to the United Kingdom across the Northsea, next to their earlier route between Hoek van Holland and Harwich. This was to be a freightroute only, and the first sailing was carried out by the 1969-built Stena Searider. This ship was formerly employed on the route between Hoek van Holland and Harwich from 1997 onwards. Because Stena Line added new ships to this route, the Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica that had a large freighcapacity besides some passenger accomodations, the older freightships could be employed elsewhere. The choice was to open this new route between Hoek van Holland and Killingholme in the northern part of England, on the southside of the Humber river, close to the city of Hull. This port became known in the 1980's because of the proposed placing of a NIREX nuclear waste disposal site. Killingholme was named in a satiric TV sketch from ITV, where was said that these sites also were going to be placed in towns like Killing Homes, Killing Animals and Killing People. Before this, it was known as the home for the RAF 550 squadron of Lancaster bombers, that are credited for opening the D-Day attack in Normandy on the 5th of june 1944.
Stena Searider seen at the 22nd of april 2006 leaving Hoek van Holland for Killingholme. She was the first ship to be employed on this new Northsea route from 2000 onwards.
In recent years, the port of Killingholme expanding rather quickly, and the first sailing of Stena Searider between Hoek van Holland and Killingholme was at the 8th of october 2000. This ship was built as Finncarrier for the Finnlines-route between Helsinki-Copenhagen and Lübeck. It was a 6209-ton freighter, with accomodations for 36 passengers, mainly lorrydrivers. The ship was built at the famous Wärtsilä yard in Helsinki, Finland under yardnumber 390. In 1976 she was chartered to EFFOA under the name Polaris, but she served at the same route as she sailed for Finnlines. In 1984, the ship was sold to Rederi AB Nordo as their Scandinavia and she started sailing on the Malmö to Travemunde service. The ship was rebuilt and lenghtened in Turku, Finland in january 1987 to a lenght of 178,70 meters and her tonnage was increased to 20.914. Also, accomodations for 120 passengers was added behind the bridge and she became a true RORO-freighter.After the rebuilding, she was back at the Malmö to Travemunde service, but under her new name Scandinavia Link. She was sold to Stena Line in 1990 and the Swedish company used her at the route between Hoek van Holland and Harwich from that moment on, sometimes she was chartered out to other companies or route's but she always came back to the Northsea. In 1990 she also recieved her name Stena Searider.
Stena Seatrader, the 1973-built RORO ferry that started sailing the route from march 2001 onwards. She is seen here departing for Killingholme at the 20th of may 2005.
The Stena Searider was followed by the Stena Seatrader in march 2001 so the route could be operated by two ships. This ship was available, now both new ferries Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica were in service at the Hoek van Holland to Harwich route. The Stena Seatrader was built for Lion Ferry and was launched at the 10th of january 1973 under the name Svealand. She started sailing the Trelleborg to Sassnitz route from september 1973 onwards. In 1982, the ship was lenghtened at the Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft in Hamburg, Western Germany, by 34 meters and her tonnage was increased from 5160 tons to 6962 tons. Also, more passengeraccomodation was added. She could now carry 100 passengers, mostly lorrydrivers. From 1982 on, she sailed the Travemunde to Malmo route for Rederi AB Nordo. In 1987 she was renamed Svea Link and in 1997 the ship was sold to Stena Line for the route between Hoek van Holland and Harwich. At the 18th of march 2001, she was paired with Stena Searider again on the route to Killingholme.
Although Stena Line was in bad weather these years, the freightvolumes were satisfactory. The new route was performing well, although it was in direct competition with many other lines, in particular the P&O route between Rotterdam Europoort and Hull, that is almost the excact same service. It became clear that the route to Killingholme was in need for modern, larger ferries with better accomodations. That is why Stena Line invested in not only their main route to Harwich, but the company also ordered new tonnage for the Killingholme route. These new ships would come into service in 2007, in the year that Stena Searider celebrated her 38th birthday and her sister Stena Seatrader was sailing for 34 years also. Stena Line sold both oldtimers and the ships left the route to Killingholme even before the new ships were ready for service. Stena Searider was sold to the Italian company Ustica Lines and recieved the new name of Claudia M. She now sails Mediterranean services from Trapani, Sicily. The Stena Seatrader was slightly modernized and started sailing the Holyhead to Dublin route from october 2006, untill she was sold to the Ventouris Ferry Group and renamed Seatrade for the Bari to Igounemitsa route in 2008. She was beached at Alang, India, to be scrapped in january of 2014.
Stena Transfer, normally at the Rotterdam Europoort to Harwich route, served for some months in 2007 on the route to Killingholme. Here, the ship is seen departing on a quiet evening from Hoek van Holland at the 31st of march 2007.
The Stena Seatrader left the route first in july 2006 and she was replaced by the Stena Trader, a ship from a totally new class built for Stena Line, named the Seabridger Class. With a lenght of over 212 meters and a tonnage of 25.900, she was definately a huge improvement in capacity for the route. The cabins and services offered to the truckdrivers were comparable to the facilities at the normal passengerferries and the ship was surely the most modern RORO-freighter on the Northsea. Some 200 passengers could be taken onboard, so there was also an increase in capacity here. The Stena Trader was partially built at the Baltijsky Zavod Shipyard in Russia and the Fosen Mekaniker Verksted in Rissa, Norway. She floated out of her building dock at the 21st of december 2005 and was delivered at the 4th of august 2006. Her first sailing from Hoek van Holland to Killingholme commenced at the 12th of august.
Stena Trader leaving Hoek van Holland at the 17th of march 2007, just before two small boys were almost washed off the breakwater by her waves...
Because Stena Line was investing in all their Northsea routes at this moment, the new Stena Trader was transferred to the Hoek van Holland to Harwich route between the 18th of january and the 8th of may 2007, to fill the gap for the lenghtening of both passengerferries Stena Hollandica and Stena Britannica. Her place at the Killingholme route was now taken by the Stena Transfer, that normally sailed the route between Rotterdam Europoort and Harwich. In the meantime, the second Seabridger Class ship, the Stena Traveller, joined the Killingholme route at the 28th of june 2007 after she was named by Bianca Balkenende, the wife of the Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
Stena Traveller, the second ship of the Seabridger Class, is leaving Hoek van Holland for Killingholme at the 30th of june 2009.
The Stena Traveller again, showing off her 212 meters in lenght departing Hoek van Holland.
A few months later, when Stena Trader was also back on the route, Stena Line announced that, because of the succes of the route to Killingholme, still bigger ships would be needed to cope with increased traffic. That's why Stena Line did order larger ships from South Korea at a total cost of around 220 million euro's in 2008. These ships are going to be in service in march and october of 2011. Both Stena Trader and Stena Traveller are chartered out to the Canadian company Marine Atlantic for the service between Port au Basques, Newfoundland and North Sydney, Nova Scotia. For this service, both ships are rebuilt extensively, more cabins are added so around 500 passengers can be ferried. Stena Trader was renamed Blue Puttees and started sailing in january 2011, Stena Traveller is renamed Highlanders and will be sailing her new Canadian service soon. On the Hoek van Holland to Killingholme route, the ships are temporarely replaced by the chartered Grimaldi Lines ferry Coraggio, that was built in 2007, and the 1992-built Finnarrow, chartered from Finnlines.
The chartered Coraggio, as seen at the morning of the 16th of february 2011, entering Hoek van Holland harbour. The Grimaldi Lines hull colouring is still in place, though with the name of Stena Line added.
The ferry Coraggio was built as part of a family of eight sisterships. She was launched at the Apunia wharf at Marina di Carrara, Italy under yardnumber 1237 in 2007. The ship was delivered to Grimaldi Ferries, sailing for Grandi Navi Veloci several routes out of Italy. After a slight rebuilding, the ship was chartered to Stena Line from july 2010 onwards, and started sailing the Hoek van Holland to Killingholme route without change of name at the 30th of september of that year.
Finnarrow at Hoek van Holland at the 17th of february 2011. This ship was built in 1992 under the name Gotland.
Finnarrow is the second ship chartered by Stena Line in 2011 at this route. The ship was launched as Gotland for Rederi AB Gotland of Visby, Sweden. Built at an Indonesian wharf, PT Dok & Perkapalan Kodja Bahari at Jakarta under yardnumber 1005, this ship is 168,15 meters in lenght and has a tonnage measure of 25.996. She mainly sailed in charters for different companies in northern Europe, untill she was sold to Finnlines in december 1997 and the ship was renamed Finnarrow. She again sailed several routes for Finnlines, Finnlink and Nördo Link (all part of the same company), before she was chartered out to Stena Line in september 2010 for the Hoek van Holland to Killingholme service. This ship was replaced by the new South Korean built ferry Stena Transporter from the 1st of march 2011 onwards.
The 2011-built Stena Transporter now sails the route, shown here at her Hoek van Holland berth at the 6th of june, 2015.
The new ferries for the Hoek van Holland to Killingholme service, are enlarged versions of the Seabridger class, named the Seabridger mkII class They have the same lenght as the earlier pair, but they are built with extended decks over the lenght of the ship so their tonnage will be around 31.000. The first of the new ships, named Stena Transporter, was delivered to Stena Line at the 18th of january 2011. She left South Korea at the 22nd of january and will be starting her sailings at the first of march, replacing the Finnarrow first. The Coraggio was replaced te following november.