Stena to deploy NewMax methanol-hybrid duo on Irish Sea route

Written by Nick Blenkey
methanol battery-hybrid ships

Stena Line's NewMax methanol battery-hybrid freight ferries will boost capacity on Belfast-Heysham Irish Sea route. {Image: StenaRoRo]

The largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, Stena Line, is to deploy two all-new hybrid propulsion NewMax vessels on its Belfast-Heysham freight route in 2025. Designed to run on methanol, they will add 80% capacity on the route in response to increasing customer demand.

Each of the two new 147-meter vessels has been designed to maximize freight volumes and will provide 2,800 lane meters of capacity. They will each be equipped to carry 12 passengers and 26 crew.


Stena Line became the first ferry operator to run a ferry on methanol when the Stena Germanica was converted in 2015. To meet the NewMax vessels’ methanol fuel requirements, the company is currently working closely with suppliers and has secured future volumes of e-methanol to fulfill its strategic ambition of shifting to renewable fuels and cutting 30% of its CO2 emissions by 2030.

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.

“This investment shows our dedication to sustainability and our strategy of moving towards new sustainable fuels,” says Niclas Mårtensson, CEO Stena Line. “The NewMax vessels will also meet the growing demand from customers, adding significant capacity to allow logistics operators to grow their business in the region.”

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 maneuverability 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 fall 2025, operating from Stena Line’s port in Belfast.

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