Illustration of the new NewMax ferry design (Source: Stena Line)

Stena to introduce methanol ferries on Irish Sea

Stena Line is to boost freight capacity in its Irish Sea trade with the introduction of two new hybrid RoRo ships using methanol as fuel on the route between Belfast and Heysham. Construction of the ships is to start in Weihai, China, through Stena RoRo, and the two new RoRos will begin operating on the route late in 2025.

The 147m-long NewMax ferries have been designed to maximise freight capacity. With 2,800 lane metres, the RoRos will increase capacity on the route by 80%. They will have crews of 26 persons and space for 12 passengers.  

The leading operator on the Irish Sea, Stena Line says it is at the forefront of ferry fuel development. The company was the first operator to run a vessel on methanol when the Stena Germanica was converted eight years ago. Now the company is working on supplies of e-methanol in the Irish Sea enabling it to meet its stated aim of shifting to renewable fuels and cutting emissions of carbon dioxide by 30% by 2030.

The ships have also been ‘future-proofed’ to enable the adoption of electrification in due time. They have built-in technologies that will be able to benefit from both battery propulsion and shore power when this becomes available in Irish Sea ports.

Design of the vessels has also taken into account the unique tidal flows in Heysham where weather conditions can be unusually challenging, Stena said. Three bow thrusters will ensure optimum manoeuvrability and a special engine/propeller configuration will assist berthing in heavy weather.

Niclas Mårtensson, Stena Line CEO, commented: “This investment shows our dedication to sustainability and our strategy of moving towards sustainable fuels. The NewMax vessels will also meet the growing demand from customers, adding significant capacity to allow logistics operators to grow their business in the region.”

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore