Ferry company Stena Line said its first new extended E-Flexer RoPax vessel has been launched in Weihai, China.

Ordered in 2018, the newbuild is expected for delivery in 2022, though it remains unknown which route the vessel will serve. “For now, the name of the new vessel and the route on which it will operate are being kept a closely guarded secret by Stena Line,” the company said in a statement.

Floated out on May 24, the new vessel is the fourth out of five new next generation E-Flexer vessels designed and built in collaboration with the sister company Stena RoRo at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard. The first three vessels have already entered service on the Irish Sea 2020 and 2021.

The fourth and the fifth vessel will be 240 meters long with a load capacity of 3,600 length meters, compared to the first three which are 214 meters long and have a load capacity of 3,100 length meters. In total, the larger vessels also get 50% more cabins and beds, 30% increased passenger capacity and an additional 15% cargo capacity.

All five vessels are delivered gas-ready, to allow conversion to methanol or liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel. The two longer vessels will be equipped to use shore power during port calls to reduce emissions. The electricity connection also enables a conversion to battery hybrid in the future.

“The E-Flexer vessels represent an important part of our sustainable growth journey for the future and we look forward to welcoming two more vessels to our fleet next year. The first three vessels are making waves with our appreciative customers across the Irish Sea and both their flexibility and efficiency has already made them great assets for the company during the pandemic and following Brexit,” said Niclas Mårtensson, managing director of Stena Line.

“Despite the challenges connected to the pandemic we have been able to deliver our newbuildings in time and thereby enabling Stena Line to perform their fleet renewal program as planned,” said Per Westling, managing director of Stena RoRo.

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