KEEL LAYING - A TRADITION WITH A LONG HISTORY

At the beginning of February, a keel laying ceremony was held for the first of a total of four new RoPax ferries at AVIC Welhai Shipyard in northeast China. Stena RoRo is leading the construction of the four ferries ordered by Stena in April 2016 and with delivery planned for 2019 and 2020. Three of the ferries will sail in Stena Line’s route network. The keel laying ceremony is the starting signal for the construction phase where the hull and the exterior parts are placed in position.

By tradition, a number of coins are placed under the keel during the ceremony to wish fortune and pros-perity on the seven seas. This time there were four different currencies – Swedish Krona, Chinese Yuan, British pound and Euro.

“It’s exciting that we’re now entering the next phase. We are now beginning to see that it’s a ship and 84 of a total of 305 steel sections are at varying stages of completion. The work is proceeding according to plan and the collaboration between us and the shipyard is both close and good”, comments Magnus Olsson, project leader at Stena RoRo, who attended the ceremony.

The new RoPax vessels, which are a further development of Stena Line’s successful business model of combining freight and passengers, will be 50 per cent larger than today’s standard RoPax ferries. They will be state-of-the-art when it comes to energy efficiency, flexibility and customer service.  

“We are also placing heavy emphasis on developing a range of exciting new digital features which will give our customers new experiences. This is part of our digitalization work, which will take us into the future and provide our customers with new and unique additional services and onboard experience”, says CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

“Three of the vessels under construction will be deployed in Stena Line’s system and the fourth has been chartered to the French shipping company Brittany Ferries. The vessels are designed with a focus on energy efficiency and flexibility and will be very attractive to both Stena Line and other operators in other markets”, adds Per Westling, MD, Stena RoRo.

“An important part of the newbuilding project is the mockup, a prototype where examples of the physical environments are built up before implementation begins on board. With the help of the mockup, we can see in detail both appearance and function and any corrections can then be made at an early stage”, says Bo Christensen, Stena RoRo’s site manager, who will lead the work at the shipyard in Weihai from March.

During the next six months, the hull sections will be joined together and the hull placed in a dock. This will be followed by a year for equipping the vessel and conducting rigorous tests before it is time for her sea trials. Work on the other three ferries is tasking place parallel with the first ferry.

TECHNICAL DATA
Length214.5m
Draft6.4m
Beam27.8m
Capacity, car deck3100 lane metres and 120 cars
Passenger capacity1000
Cabins175
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