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'Biggest Ever Ships' Set for Belfast-Loch Ryan Service

The "biggest ever ships to operate on the Northern Ireland-Scotland route" are being introduced on Stena Line's Belfast service this coming autumn, to coincide with the opening of the company's new terminal on Loch Ryan.

Sister ships Superfast VII and Superfast VIII will replace the HSS Stena Voyager, Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator, which currently operate between the two countries, when the company's new £80m Loch Ryan port opens in the autumn.

The Superfast vessels, the biggest ships ever to operate on the Northern Ireland-Scotland route, will cater for both passenger and freight traffic. Each ship can carry up to 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles and will be able to complete the journey between Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2 hours, 15 minutes. They each have a gross tonnage of 30,285 and are capable of travelling at 27 knots. The ships will be leased from Tallink, the Baltic Sea shipping group.

The introduction of the new ships to the route later this year will coincide with the opening of Stena Line's purpose built £80m port facility at Loch Ryan Port, Cairnryan in Scotland, which will replace its Stena's current base at Stranraer.

Paul Grant, Route Director for Stena Line Northern Ireland-Scotland said: "The new ships will be the largest vessels ever to operate between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will provide Stena Line with increased operational efficiency by replacing three ships with two. The unique combination of speed, capacity, increased deck height, great onboard facilities and modern ports at each end of the journey will greatly enhance the ferry travel experience for all our customers."

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