Stena Line has announced that it plans to replace the Stena Explorer with another fast craft during the off peak periods in 2010.
Currently the HSS Stena Explorer operates a once daily round trip between March and December but in 2010 the vessel will operate for the peak summer season only from the 28 June to the 5 September. Outside this period the vessel will be replaced by the Stena Express which currently operates a summer fast craft service between Fishguard and Rosslare.
Commenting, Vic Goodwin, Route Director, said: "The HSS Stena Explorer has very high operating costs and together with the high port dues in Dun Laoghaire Harbour this has placed severe pressure on the financial performance of this route.
"We are in discussions with Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and are confident that we can reach a new operating agreement from 2011 which will result in a reduction in harbour dues.
"Operating our fast craft vessels in this flexible manner will also be more cost effective and enable us to work towards getting the route back into an acceptable trading position."
Whilst the Stena Explorer will continue to operate a one round trip schedule during the peak season, the timetable for the Stena Express will vary between a one round trip and a two round trip daily schedule to meet commercial demands and at key times frequency will be increased.
The Stena Express will transfer from the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route to continue to provide a summer fast craft service between Fishguard and Rosslare from 12 July to 5 September.
As part of Stena Line’s ongoing commitment to providing a quality service to customers, the Stena Express will undergo a £2m refit in preparation for its arrival on the Central Corridor. Stena Line will continue to operate the two Superferries, the Stena Adventurer and Stena Nordica from Holyhead to Dublin Port, each performing two round trips per day. In March 2009, the Stena Adventurer underwent a £2m refit to its onboard retail and catering facilities and recently the Stena Nordica completed a £1m upgrade to its onboard facilities. The ferry company is also planning a major investment to upgrade the facilities on the Stena Europe, the Superferry that operates between Fishguard and Rosslare.
Vic Goodwin added: "We are undertaking big investments to improve the facilities and comfort for all customers travelling on our Republic of Ireland routes. We are confident that by ultilising the Superferries, the Stena Express and the Stena Explorer in this flexible way, we will provide passengers with an excellent combination of vessels on the routes between Wales and Ireland offering both RoPax and fast craft services. What is more we will not hesitate in expanding our fast craft services in Holyhead or Fishguard should market forces justify this."
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For further information, please contact Eamonn Hewitt of Stena Line on 00353872411293.