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FährNews Aktuell – Issue January 2024

Hello and welcome to the January issue of FährNews Aktuell in 2024. Today’s hot topics include:

  • Multi-million euro investment in Hirtshals – how the Danish port is preparing for the future
  • Baleària exercises purchase option – Former HONFLEUR now permanently underway in the Mediterranean
  • E-Flexer for Corsica Linea – the continuation of Stena RoRo’s successful construction series
  • You can find out all this and much more in this issue of FährNews Aktuell. So make sure you stay tuned until the end so you don’t miss anything!

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And here is the entire January issue of FährNews Aktuell for you to read again:

1 VIKING CINDERELLA back on Helsinki-Stockholm

[1] From March 8, 2024, the VIKING CINDERELLA will return to the Helsinki-Stockholm route after an absence of over 20 years. When it entered service in 1989, the ferry, then still called CINDERELLA, was considered the largest and most luxurious car ferry in the Baltic Sea.

In 2003, the former red hull of the CINDERELLA was painted white and the ship was renamed the VIKING CINDERELLA. She then served the Stockholm-Mariehamn route until the end, with a few summer visits to Helsinki.

Although the VIKING CINDERELLA has not called at a Finnish port for almost 20 years, for many Finns she is still their undisputed favorite ship. A number of cultural phenomena were born on the CINDERELLA back then: the ship is known for its hip artists, popular TV shows filmed on board and cruises. At the turn of the millennium, 70 couples got married on board the ship on the same day – no wonder the CINDERELLA’s biggest fans refer to the ship as the “Love Boat”.

Johanna Boijer-Svahnström, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at VIKING LINE, emphasizes that they are just as excited as many of their passengers to be able to bring the VIKING CINDERELLA back to Helsinki to serve the route together with the GABRIELLA. There is also a second reason to celebrate: VIKING LINE started the service to Helsinki in 1974, so they are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the route’s launch, she continues.

2 Polferrie’s new building takes shape

[2] The Italian shipyard Cantiere Navale Visentini in Porto Viro is currently building a new RoPax ferry of the well-known “Visentini class” in its latest version to complement the Polferries fleet. A charter agreement for 10 years was signed with the Polish shipping company in August 2022.

[3] The ferry is very similar to the A GALEOTTA, which entered service for Corsica Linea last year, but at 216 m in length it is 10 m longer than its half-sister.

[4] It also has a transport capacity of 2,940 loading meters, an increase of around 500 loading meters.

[2] It thus offers space for 140-145 standard trucks on three loading decks, as well as around 200 cars on two further car decks. The ferry will offer space for 920 passengers and 60 crew members and will go into operation in the middle of this year on the Świnoujście-Ystad route between Poland and southern Sweden.

[4] It will be christened VARSOVIA.

3 EPSILON on the move

[5] The EPSILON, operated by the Polish Unity Line, completed its maiden voyage on the Świnoujście-Trelleborg route on January 23, 2024. The new addition to the Unity Line fleet will now depart from Świnoujście at 2:15 a.m. daily for Trelleborg, where she is scheduled to arrive at 8:35 a.m. The return journey then departs from Trelleborg at 15:55, arriving in Świnoujście at 22:15.

The EPSILON was built in 2011 at the Italian Visentini shipyard, is 186 meters long and 25 meters wide. It offers space for up to 299 passengers and has almost 2,860 loading meters for up to 60 cars and 134 trucks. This makes it the largest and newest ferry in the Unity Line fleet.

4 Multi-million euro investment in the port of Hirtshals

[6] The port of Hirtshals is to be expanded in order to improve shipping conditions so that larger ships can dock in the port even in less favorable weather conditions than before, and to create maneuvering and industrial areas on the port grounds. In this context, the Port of Hirtshals has now announced an EU tender for the construction work for the expansion with a total budget of around DKK 1 billion, which is roughly equivalent to EUR 134 million.

Per Holm Nørgaard, CEO of Port of Hirtshals, emphasizes that this tender is another important step towards realizing the port expansion, which is scheduled for completion in 2027. It once again underlines the substantial development of the port of Hirtshals, which should support the port’s crucial role as a central transportation hub between Norway and Europe. He also highlighted the port’s key role in the green transformation, in which both the port’s facilities and shipping conditions are of crucial importance.

The port of Hirtshals is a special hub in Danish-Norwegian ferry traffic, as both Fjord Line with its connections to Kristiansand, Bergen and Stavanger and Color Line with its routes to Kristiansand and Larvik have their starting point here. Smyril Line also serves the connections to Tórshavn on the Faroe Islands and, from mid-March, to Seyðisfjørður in Iceland.

[7] In 2022, the port with its four berths for ferries handled 2.369 million passengers and 780,000 cars.

5 Autonomous ferry connection planned in Norway

[8] Fjord1 and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration have signed a contract for the operation of the national road ferry connection E39 between Lavik and Oppedal. Fjord1 will operate the service with four ships from 2026 to 2034. The contract can be extended by up to three years.

The Lavik-Oppedal connection is the ninth largest ferry connection in Norway. In 2022, 1.2 million cars were transported on the route.

The contract also includes the development of fully automated solutions for all four ferries from 2027. A total of 23 different functions are described in the contract, which are to be automated. All in all, the ferries will ultimately be able to operate the route completely autonomously. In addition, a control center is to be set up on land to enable the ferries to be monitored and controlled remotely.

Four new ferries will be commissioned for the route, each with a capacity for 120 vehicles.

6 PRIDE OF CANTERBURY sold for scrapping

After the PRIDE OF BURGUNDY and the PRIDE OF KENT, another English Channel classic from British P&O Ferries is ending its career.

[9] The PRIDE OF CANTERBURY was sold to Aliaga in Turkey, where it is to be recycled. The same fate has already befallen her two sisters mentioned at the beginning.

This follows the commissioning of the new P&O PIONEER last year – more on this in the June issue of FährNews-Aktuell from 2023 – and in preparation for the commissioning of her sister P&O LIBERTÉ, [10], which is currently still on its way from China to the English Channel.

[11] Thanks to the double-ended design of these newbuildings, it is not necessary to turn the ferries before docking or after casting off, which saves time and fuel for the crossing between Calais in France and Dover in England.

7 DFDS gives up Calais-Tilbury connection

[12] The DFDS service between Calais, France, and Tilbury, England, will be discontinued with effect from January 1, 2024, citing operational difficulties and challenging market developments. DFDS has therefore been offering unaccompanied trailer transports between Calais and Dover again since December 18, 2023. DFDS now offers both escorted and unescorted services across the English Channel via Dover-Dunkerque and Dover-Calais.

8 Stena Line signs important contract with Peel Ports Group

[13] Stena Line has signed a major contract with Peel Ports Group, a major UK port operator, to operate from the Port of Heysham for the next 77 years until 2100. The Swedish ferry company operates a twice daily freight service between Belfast and Heysham, which is an important trade corridor between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

In 2023, Stena Line also announced a multi-million euro investment in the Belfast-Heysham route: two newly built, state-of-the-art “NewMax” ferries, which will increase freight capacity by 80%, are to be deployed on the route from 2025. These hybrid ferries will be equipped to run on methanol fuel and represent an important milestone on Stena Line’s path to sustainable shipping.

Peel Ports, in collaboration with Stena Line, plans to invest in a new terminal management and automated handling system to improve the customer experience at the port. In addition, the parking space for trailers in the port is to be adapted to the larger ships.

In addition, both parties want to adapt the infrastructure in the port of Heysham to enable the newbuildings to be supplied with shore power during their time in port. This is a further step towards the long-term goal of creating a green shipping corridor.

9 More departures between Huelva and the Canary Islands

[14] Baleària and Fred. Olsen Express is launching a new ferry on the route between Huelva and the Canary Islands, with three weekly departures from January 13, 2024. The SICILIA complements the MARIE CURIE, which is already operating on the route, so that three weekly departures in each direction can now be offered for both freight and passenger traffic, instead of the previous two departures.

The General Director of Baleària, Georges Bassoul, particularly emphasizes the environmental friendliness of the SICILIA, which runs on LNG. This will enable the joint venture to improve the offer and provide all travelers with the best service on this route.

The Fleet Director of Fred Olsen Express, Juan Ignacio Liaño, adds that the integration of this new ship underlines the importance of the connection between the Canary Islands and Huelva. The route offers an alternative connection with a comfortable and high-quality service.

From January 13, 2024, there will now be departures from Huelva to Tenerife and Gran Canaria on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The return tour starts on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The change in timetables has already been communicated to passengers who had a reservation.

In November 2023, Fred. Olsen Express and Baleària celebrate their fifth anniversary as joint operators of routes between the Canary Islands and the Iberian Peninsula. In the first five years, the two companies have jointly transported one million loading meters and more than 155,000 passengers between Huelva and the Canary Islands.

10 Baleària exercises purchase option for RUSADIR

[15] Baleària has exercised an option to purchase the ro-pax ferry RUSADIR. The LNG ferry has been on charter at Baleària since April last year. The 187-meter-long and 31-meter-wide RUSADIR, which is used on the Málaga-Melilla route, has a capacity of 1,670 passengers and can carry up to 2,600 lane meters of cargo. The RUSADIR also has 261 cabins, two cafés, a restaurant, a store, a children’s area, a movie theater, a prayer room, a terrace and numerous lounge areas.

The RUSADIR was originally ordered by Brittany Ferries in 2017 from Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft (FSG) as the HONFLEUR and was to become Brittany Ferries’ new LNG-powered flagship. In 2020, however, Brittany Ferries decided to cancel the newbuilding order due to massive delays in the construction of the ship. At the time, the HONFLEUR was to replace the ageing NORMANDIE on the Portsmouth-Ouistreham (Caen) route.

11 New connection between L’Île-Rousse and Toulon

[16] From April 6, 2024, La Méridionale will offer a new regular service between Toulon on the French mainland and L’Île-Rousse in Corsica with the KALLISTE. Three departures per week and direction are planned, which will be supplemented in the high season by a fourth rotation with a stopover in Livorno, Italy.

[17] The KALLISTE was built in Finland in 1993, making it the oldest ship in La Méridionale’s fleet. It has 2,200 loading meters and, with a length of 165 meters and a width of 29 meters, reaches a maximum speed of 19 knots.

12 E-Flexer for Corsica Linea

[18] Corsica Linea and Stena RoRo have signed a contract for a new e-flexer with LNG propulsion. This 13th e-flexer is scheduled to enter service in March 2026 and will be chartered to Corsica Linea with a purchase option. The 13th E-Flexer is also being built at the CMI Jinling shipyard in Weihai, China.

The newbuild will be the second LNG ship in Corsica Linea’s fleet after the A GALEOTTA, which will be delivered in 2022. For Stena RoRo, it will be the first e-flexer to be delivered to the Mediterranean region.
Pierre-Antoine Villanova, CEO of Corsica Linea, emphasizes that the addition of this second new LNG ship to the fleet is a strong signal that is in line with the ambitious course to become the most modern shipping company in the Mediterranean by 2030. The focus is particularly on customer satisfaction, ecological change and social commitment.

The new ship will be 203 meters long and 27.80 meters wide with a draught of 6.50 meters. In addition, a capacity of 1,000 passengers is to be created, for which 235 cabins will be available. There will be space for freight on 2,300 loading meters.

The environmentally friendly multi-fuel marine engines from Wärtsilä enable a top speed of 23 knots.

Stena RoRo currently has 13 confirmed orders for E-Flexer vessels and two so-called “New Max” RoRo vessels. All newbuildings are being built at the CMI Jinling shipyard in Weihai. A total of six ships are now being built at the shipyard at the same time. So far, nine ships have been delivered.


[19] Moby will sell the two ferries MOBY VINCI and SHARDEN to a company controlled by the MSC Group in the coming months.

Specifically, the ferries are to be acquired from Apontes Conglomerate Maritime Limited for a total sum of 109 million euros. This sale is part of the shareholder loan provided by Mediterranean Shipping Company to help Moby repay its debts and finalize the financial restructuring plan with its creditors, which was approved by the court in Milan last summer.

Last year, the company owned by billionaire Gianluigi Aponte acquired a 49% stake in the ailing Moby for up to EUR 150 million.

[20] The MOBY VINCI was built as the NURAGHES together with her sister SHARDEN at Fincantieri in Castellammare di Stabia. In 2023, the NURAGHES was taken over by Moby Lines and given the name MOBY VINCI. Both ships have a length of 214 meters, a width of 26 meters and offer space for 2,910 passengers as well as 1,900 loading meters of space for cargo. With a speed of 28 knots, they are among the faster Ro-Pax ferries in the Mediterranean.

14 GNV POLARIS launched

In the December 2022 issue of FährNews Aktuell, we reported on the start of construction of the first of several new ferries for Italy’s Grandi Navi Veloci, or GNV for short.

[21] The newbuilding in question, from the Chinese Guangzou shipyard, has now been launched and is being fitted out. The ship, named GNV POLARIS, will have a length of 218 meters, 3,100 lane meters and a capacity of 1,500 passengers and is scheduled for delivery towards the end of the year. Three more ferries are to follow, two of which are to be equipped with LNG propulsion.

15 MOBY LEGACY delivered

[22] The MOBY LEGACY, the second newbuilding ordered by Moby, was delivered by the GSI shipyard in Guangzhou. Together with her sister MOBY FANTASY, she will serve the route between Livorno and Olbia.

The MOBY LEGACY, which was originally to be called MOBY MAGIC, has a length of 237 meters, a width of 32 meters and a cargo capacity of 3,800 lane meters. It offers space for 3,000 passengers, for whom 441 cabins are available.

The LNG-capable, scrubber-equipped vessel is powered by four Wärtsilä engines, which enable a cruising speed of over 23.5 knots.

[23] According to MarineTraffic, the ship is currently on its way to Italy.

But that’s it for the January issue of FährNews Aktuell in 2024. Did you like the issue? Then leave with pleasure a Like there. If you have any other comments or requests, feel free to write us a comment. We look forward to your feedback!

If you haven’t had enough of FerryNews, we can recommend the latest issue of FerryNews News. Among other things, it covered the delivery of the FINNCANOPUS, the launch of the new Scandlines ferry and some newly opened ferry routes. Have fun and see you soon!


  • [1] “Iconic Love Boat returning to Helsinki – many remember Viking Cinderella for its top artists, mega weddings and TV shows”. Accessed January 24, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.vikingline.com/press-room/1FF449E59285C52C/
  • [2] sandra, “The new Polferries Ro-Pax is taking shape”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/the-new-polferries-ro-pax-is-taking-shape/
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  • [7] “Facts”, Port of Hirtshals. Accessed January 24, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://portofhirtshals.dk/en/about-the-port/facts/
  • [8] “Fjord1 signed contract for the world’s first ferry connection with autonomous ferries”, Shippax. Accessed January 24, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/fjord1-signed-contract-for-the-worlds-first-ferry-connection-with-autonomous-ferries.aspx
  • [9] “PRIDE OF CANTERBURY sold for recycling”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/pride-of-canterbury-sold-for-recycling.aspx
  • [10] “PO LIBERTE, Passenger/Ro-Ro Cargo Ship – Vessel data and current position – IMO 9895173 – VesselFinder”. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.vesselfinder.com/de/vessels/details/9895173
  • [11] “Pioneering P&O Ferry Enters Service Between Dover and Calais”. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.niferry.co.uk/pioneering-po-ferry-enters-service-between-dover-and-calais/
  • [12] “DFDS to close down its Calais – Tilbury service”, Shippax. Accessed January 24, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/dfds-to-close-down-its-calais-tilbury-service.aspx
  • [13] sandra, “Stena Line has signed another important deal with Peel Ports Group”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed January 24, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/stena-line-has-signed-another-important-deal-with-peel-ports-group/
  • [14] “Baleària and Fred. Olsen Express increase frequency on the Huelva-Canary route, Baleària and Fred. Olsen Express increase frequency on the Huelva-Canary route”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/baleria-and-fred-olsen-express-increase-frequency-on-the-huelva-canary-route-.aspx
  • [15] “Baleària exercise option to buy RUSADIR”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/baleria-exercise-option-to-buy-rusadir.aspx
  • [16] “La Méridionale opens a new regular line between L’Ile-Rousse and Toulon”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/la-meridionale-opens-a-new-regular-line-between-lile-rousse-and-toulon.aspx
  • [17] “M/S KALLISTE (1993)”. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: http://www.faktaomfartyg.se/kalliste_1993.htm
  • [18] “Corsica Linea signs a contract with Stena RoRo for E-Flexer”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/corsica-linea-signs-a-contract-with-stena-roro-for-e-flexer.aspx
  • [19] sandra, “MOBY VINCI and SHARDEN to be sold to MSC”, Ferry Shipping News. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://ferryshippingnews.com/moby-vinci-and-sharden-to-be-sold-to-msc/
  • [20] “Moby Vinci”, Wikipedia. November 14, 2023. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moby_Vinci&oldid=239107499
  • [21] “GSI Shipyard launched GNV POLARIS”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/gsi-shipyard-launched-gnv-polaris.aspx
  • [22] “MOBY LEGACY delivered”, Shippax. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.shippax.com/en/news/moby-legacy-delivered.aspx
  • [23] “Ship MOBY LEGACY (Ro-Ro/Passenger Ship) Registered in Malta – Vessel details, Current position and Voyage information – IMO 9837511, MMSI 256508000, Call Sign 9HA5865 | AIS Marine Traffic”, MarineTraffic.com. Accessed January 20, 2024. [Online]. Available at: https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:7812742/mmsi:256508000/imo:9837511/vessel:MOBY LEGACY

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