Stena Line has ordered two hybrid propulsion vessels designed to run on methanol that will add eighty per cent capacity on the Belfast-Heysham route. Construction of the NewMax vessels will begin shortly with launch on the Irish Sea in 2025.

Each of the two new 147-metre vessels has been designed to maximise freight volumes and will provide 2800 lane metres of capacity which is an eighty per cent increase on current ship capacities. The new vessels will be equipped to carry twelve passengers and 26 crew.

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Methanol and electrification

The “NewMax” vessels will be able to operate on methanol fuel. Stena Line is currently working closely with the supply chain of methanol securing future volumes of e-methanol to fulfil its strategic ambition of shifting to renewable fuels and cutting thirty per cent of its CO2 emissions by 2030.

Stena Line became the first ferry operator to run a ferry on methanol when the Stena Germanica was converted in 2015.

Future proofing the new vessels for electrification has been another priority during construction providing in-built technologies that can take advantage of both battery propulsion and shore power, where this is available.

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Three bow thrusters

The unique tidal systems prevailing in Heysham can be challenging, so each vessel will be fitted with a bespoke marine technology configuration making it more resilient to the prevailing weather conditions. Three bow thrusters will provide optimum manoeuvrability and reliability and a specially designed engine/propeller configuration will further enhance berthing capability in extreme weather.

Construction work on the two new vessels is about to start in Weihai, China, through Stena RoRo and both ships are due to go into service on the route in autumn 2025, operating from Stena Line’s port in Belfast.

Also read: Stena Line plans fossil fuel free ferry line between Gothenburg and Frederikshavn by 2030