Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Two ferry operators run services across the North Channel from Loch Ryan to Northern Ireland. The railhead at Stranraer is served by Stena Line, who run both a High Speed catamaran ferry, STENA VOYAGER, and a conventional ro-ro ferry, STENA CALEDONIA. A few days ago, STENA VOYAGER suffered from some weather damage and had to be taken out of service. To provide additional capacitywhile she is undergoing repairs, a freight ferry usually employed between Larne and Fleetwood has temporarily been placed on the Stranraer-Belfast crossing. STENA SEAFARER was built for Stena Line in 1975 by Sietas, and named UNION MELBOURNE for a charter in New Zealand, becoming UNION TRADER in 1978 when she returned to the northern hemisphere to serve on her present route on charter to Pandoro.  In 1980 she was bought by P&O and renamed PUMA, before a further name change to EUROPEAN SEAFARER in 1998 following a reorganisation of the company's freight operations in the Irish Sea. In 2003, P&O divested themselves of some of their Irish Sea services, and she was transferred to the Stena fleet, adopting her current name and now flying the flag of the company which was initially responsible for her design and construction.