MS Stena Superfast VII
MS Stena Superfast VII is a fast Ro-Pax ferry owned by Stena Line and operated on their service between Belfast and Cairnryan. Built in 2001 by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel, Germany for Attica Group's subsidiary Superfast Ferries, she was sold to her current owners in 2006.
MS Stena Superfast VII in November 2011
|Name:||Stena Superfast VII|
|Port of registry:|
|Builder:||HDW, Kiel, Germany|
|Launched:||18 November 2000|
|Acquired:||8 May 2001|
|Maiden voyage:||17 May 2001|
|In service:||17 May 2001|
|General characteristics (as built)|
|Class and type:||Superfast VII class fast ropax ferry|
|Displacement:||5,915 t DWT|
|Length:||203.90 m (669 ft)|
|Beam:||25.00 m (82 ft)|
|Height:||40.00 m (131 ft)|
|Draught:||6.60 m (21 ft 8 in)|
|Ice class:||1 A Super|
|Speed:||30.4 kn (56.30 km/h)|
|General characteristics (in Stena Service)|
|Class and type:||Superfast VII class fast ropax ferry|
|Length:||203.3 m (667 ft)|
|Beam:||25.42 m (83 ft 5 in)|
|Deck clearance:||4.7 m, 5.2 m on central 4 lanes of the upper vehicle deck|
|Speed:||20 kn (37.0 km/h) - 22 kn (40.7 km/h)|
|Notes:||Entered Stena service along with her sister Stena Superfast VIII on 21/11/2011.|
Concept and construction
Stena Superfast VII was the first ship in a series of four ice-classified ropax ferries built by HDW in Kiel for Superfast Ferries' Baltic Sea services. She was ordered in 1998, alongside sister ship MS Superfast VIII, launched from dry dock on 8 November 2000 and was delivered to Superfast Ferries on 8 May 2001.
2001–06: Superfast Ferries
Following delivery the Superfast VII visited Rosyth, Scotland and Helsinki, Finland where she was displayed to the public. She inaugurated Superfast Ferries' Hanko (Finland) – Rostock (Germany) service on 17 May 2001. On 18 January 2002 a pregnant passenger went into labour on board while the Superfast VII was en route from Hanko to Rostock. Taking the ship to Karlshamn, Sweden where the expecting mother could be taken to a hospital was considered, but in the end the decision was made to bring a midwife on board by a pilot boat. The child had already been born by the time the midwife arrived on board, with the captain's wife assisting in childbirth.
On 12 November 2004 the Superfast VII was entering Hanko harbour in heavy wind with the help of two tugs when she was grounded near the Hanko breakwater at 19:24 Eastern European Time. The grounding resulted in no major damage and the ship was able to continue to the harbour soon afterwards. 140 passengers were on board at the time of the incident. Subsequent enquiries revealed the Safety Management System instructions provided for the crew by Superfast Ferries had not included instructions for port steering during a storm, which had led to an incorrect estimation of the wind effect and insufficient utilization of the ship's navigational equipment. Following the grounding the ship sailed to Turku Repair Yard in Naantali, Finland on 14 November 2004 and returned to service after repairs on 27 November 2004.
On 21 March 2006 Superfast Ferries sold their Baltic Sea operations (Superfast VII, Superfast VIII and Superfast IX) to the Estonia-based Tallink, with the delivery date set for 10 April 2006. According to the agreement Tallink could continue utilising the Superfast brand until the end of 2007 at latest. Following delivery to the new owners the ship was moved from Finnish to Estonian registry, and her route changed to Hanko–Paldiski–Rostock on 17 April 2006. The route change caused problems however as Estonia was not a member of the Schengen Treaty (unlike Finland and Germany), and passport control facilities had to be built in all ports. Already in June of the same year the route reverted to Hanko–Rostock. Around the same time the "Superfast" text on the ship's side was altered into "Superfast operated by Tallink".
The route of the Superfast VII was changed to Helsinki–Rostock on 1 January 2007 and Tallinn–Helsinki–Rostock on 14 January 2007. Coinciding with this all remaining Superfast logos on the ships were painted over with Tallink logos, but otherwise the original Superfast livery was maintained. Due to falling passenger numbers and rising fuel costs the route of Superfast VII and VIII will revert to Helsinki–Rostock in late 2008, while the Superfast IX will be chartered to Marine Atlantic in October 2008. Reportedly Tallink are considering the closure of the entire Tallink Superfast -division. In January 2010, the Superfast VII and her sister were removed from service and laid up in Tallinn, but they resumed service on the Helsinki-Rostock route at the end of April 2010 and continuing during the summer and autumn season. On 29 and 30 December 2010, Superfast VII replaced MS Superstar on the route Tallinn-Helsinki due to scheduled docking
2011 onwards: Stena Line
In March 2011, Stena Line announced they will be chartering the Superfast VII and sister ship Superfast VIII. Superfast VII and Superfast VIII commenced operations on 21 November 2011 after major refit by MJM Marine in Remontowa Shipyard in Poland. The vessels now operate between Belfast and Stena Line's new terminal at Cairnryan. In February 2014, Stena renewed the charter of these ships until Autumn 2019.
Conversion to day ferries
Before the two sisters entered service for Stena Line, an extensive refurbishment and conversion was undertaken in Gdansk, Poland. This was rumoured at the time to have cost a total of €14M. As part of this conversion, the free height of the upper vehicle deck was raised to 5.05 m allowing Stena to carry full height freight. Both ships also received an additional bow thruster to improve manoeuvrability, taking their complement to three bow thrusters and one stern thruster. As the new port in Scotland had an automated mooring system installed, the ships were also adapted to work with this by adding three steel bollards on the starboard side bow.
On 6 November 2018, Stena Superfast VII had a near-miss with a Royal Navy nuclear submarine submerged at periscope depth.
Stena Superfast VII and her sister Stena Superfast VIII are managed by Northern Marine Management, a Stena owned company.
- Asklander, Micke. "M/S Superfast VII (2001)". Fakta om Fartyg (in Swedish). Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- "MS Superfast VII, pohjakosketus Hangossa 12.11.2004" (PDF) (in Finnish, Swedish, and English). Onnettomuustutkintakeskus. 23 May 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII". NI Ferry Site. 20 February 2014.
- "Attica Receives New Superfast Ferry". Marine Link.com. Maritime Activity Reports, Inc. 9 May 2001. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "About Superfast Ferries". Superfast Ferries. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "Sale of Superfast VII, VIII and IX to AS Tallink Grupp". Ferry News. aferry.to. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "Tallink harkitsee Superfast-pikalaivojen vetämistä Itämereltä". HS.fi (in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "Charter of MS Superfast IX". Tallink press release. Tallink Grupp. 25 April 2008. Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
- "Two Stena Line chartered sister ferries come to Remontowa for major refit". www.remontowa.com.pl. 2011.
- "New ships for Scotland - NI service". Stena Line. 7 March 2011.
- "Royal Navy nuclear submarine's near miss with ferry". BBC News. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
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