Stena Line Holland BV

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Stena Line Holland BV is a subsidiary of Stena Line that operates ferry routes between Harwich and Killingholme on the east coast of England and Hoek van Holland and Europort in the Netherlands. The head office is in Hoek van Holland in the Netherlands. Apart from during the two world wars there has been a continuous service operating between these two countries, initially by the railway companies serving the east coast of England together with Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland a Dutch ferry company. In 1990 Stena Line had purchased both parts and Stena Line Holland BV came into being.

Hoek van Holland - Harwich[edit]

A passenger service has operated from Harwich to Hoek van Holland since the late 19th century apart from a break during the Second World War. Until 1990, the route was operated by two companies: one British and the other Dutch; but since then, Stena Line BV has been operating this route.

History of the route[edit]

In the late 19th century, the Great Eastern Railway (GER), wishing to compete with its rivals who were operating from the Kent coast to France and Belgium, obtained the rights to provide a cargo and cattle service to Rotterdam. After first using chartered tonnage they carried passengers with the paddle steamer Zealous 613 gt, built in 1864 on the Thames by J & W Dudgeon. Dudgeon also supplied the 1865 built Avalon, 670 gt, which was powered by a two-cylinder oscillating engine that gave a speed of 14 knots.[1]

When the service first started, ships bound for Rotterdam had to negotiate the Brielle Bar to enter the river Maas with access possible only at high water. Things improved in 1872 with the opening of the New Waterway which by-passed the Brielle Bar. The Great Eastern paddle steamer, Richard Young, was the first seagoing vessel to use the direct link to the city.[1]

In 1883, the Great Eastern Railway moved its English base from Harwich town to Parkeston Quay and in 1893 moved its Dutch operations from Rotterdam to the new rail terminus at the Hook of Holland. The first vessel to call at the "Hook" was the steamer Cambridge built in 1886 of 1,194 gt.[1]

In 1893, the GER built the twin-screw Chelmsford to open a new night service. The new terminal in the Hook was situated on the north western end of the New Waterway and this saved two hours on the passage to Rotterdam itself. The new route enabled passengers to leave London in the evening and, after arrival in the Hook before 6 am, be in Amsterdam at breakfast time and reach Berlin by the end of the day.[2]

The service quickly became popular, and GER used three ships to offer night sailings each way, every day except Saturday. By 1904, the GER had ceased operations to Rotterdam. The Dutch had their own services from Flushing, which was operated by Stoomvaart Maatschappij Zeeland (SMZ) which was created in 1875, which ran firstly to Queenborough near Sheerness and then to Folkestone.[3]

On 1 January 1923 after the enforced re-grouping of the railway companies, the route came under the control of the London and North Eastern Railway.

In 1926, SMZ moved its English port to Harwich providing day sailings but did not start using the Hook of Holland until after the Second World War. After both World Wars, the Hook became a major port for troop movements, these operations continuing until 1961.[3]

Post Second World War vessels on this route included the John Brown built Arnhem (1946). On 1 January 1948, after the nationalising of the British railway network, the route came under the control of British Railways. In 1950, the Amsterdam, also built by John Brown, came into service; in 1963, the elegant Avalon was built for this route. SMZ added the motor ship the Koningin Wilhelmina in 1960.

In 1968, the two Ro-Ro passenger vessels (the British-owned St George and the Dutch-owned Koningin Juliana) came into service, the St George in July and the Koningin Juliana in October. This fully integrated service was operated from November 1968 under the Sealink banner with each ship leaving port by day and returning overnight.[3]

In 1984, Sealink was bought by Sea Containers who continued to operate the British operations under the Sealink name. In 1989, SMZ was acquired by Stena Line and in 1990 Stena bought Sealink, thus for the first time, the Dutch and British operations were under the same ownership.

Operation under Stena BV[edit]

In 1990, when Stena Line took control of the route, the Harwich to Hoek van Holland service was being operated with two passenger and one freight Ro-Ro vessels. This continued until 2 June 1997, when with the introduction of the high speed ferry Stena Discovery, the two conventional ferries were taken off the route and an additional freight ferry was introduced.

Since 1996, Stena Line, in conjunction with Anglia Railways and its successors (currently Abellio Greater Anglia) in the United Kingdom and Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Netherlands Railways, has been operating the integrated Dutchflyer service (named Go-London in the Netherlands), a rail/sea link between London and Amsterdam.

In June 2006, Stena Line announced that the high-speed catamaran ferry Stena Discovery would be withdrawn from service on 8 January 2007. It had been carrying the majority of the passenger traffic on the Hoek van HollandHarwich route. This service was halted due to the excessive cost of operating the ship and competition from the budget airlines.[4] The ferry consumed 180,000 litres of high grade fuel daily whilst doing its four crossings at speeds of up to 45 knots, about 75 kilometres per hour.

After the Stena Discovery was removed from service on the Hoek van Holland - Harwich route, she was laid up in Belfast. In 2010 she was sold to Venezuelan interests.

To replace the Stena Discovery, Stena Line invested 100 million euro in rebuilding the existing ferries of the route. The Ro-Pax vessels "Stena Britannica". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012.  and "Stena Hollandica". Archived from the original on 20 December 2012.  were both lengthened and converted at the Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven so that they could carry additional passengers. Both ships are now 240 metres long, the Stena Britannica being lengthened by 28 metres and the Stena Hollandica by 52 metres. The Stena Britannica returned to service on 12 March 2007 and the Stena Hollandica on 14 May 2007.

In November 2006, Stena Line ordered two new vessels to be built at Aker Yards (now STX Europe) in Germany, to replace the Stena Britannica and Stena Hollandica. These vessels, which are now in service, are the biggest in Stena Line's fleet so far.[5] They were delivered in May and October 2010.

Ships that have operated between Harwich and Rotterdam or Hoek van Holland[edit]

Ships of the Great Eastern Railway[edit]


Type of
Avalon 13 June 1864 1866 613 Paddle steamer
Zealous 1 August 1864 1887 613 Paddle steamer
Harwich 1864 October 1907 750 Paddle steamer
Rotterdam 1864 1908 757 Paddle steamer
Avalon 1865 Before 1906 670 Paddle steamer
Ravensbury 1865 Wrecked
5 March 1870
621 Paddle steamer
Great Yarmouth 1866 1872 731 Single Screw
Richard Young March 1871 1890 718 Paddle Steamer
Pacific 1872 1887 712 Paddle Steamer
Claud Hamilton 14 August 1875 1897 962 Paddle Steamer
Princess of Wales 6 July 1878 1894 1098 Paddle Steamer
Lady Tyler 29 May 1880 1893 951 Paddle Steamer
Adelaide 23 July 1880 1896 927 Paddle Steamer
Norwich 24 July 1883 1911 1037 Twin Screw Steamer
Ipswich 23 October 1883 1905 1037 Twin Screw Steamer
Cambridge 12 February 1887 25 November 1912 1160 Twin Screw Steamer
Colchester 27 February 1889 8 March 1916 1160 Twin Screw Steamer
Chelmsford 31 May 1893 June 1910 1635 Twin Screw Steamer
Berlin 10 January 1894 Wrecked
21 February 1907
1745 Twin Screw Steamer
Amsterdam 9 May 1894 December 1928 1745 Twin Screw Steamer
Vienna 11 October 1894 23 March 1930 1753 Twin Screw Steamer
Dresden 29 June 1897 20 January 1918
Sunk by UC 22
1805 Twin Screw Steamer
Cromer 22 April 1902 30 August 1934 812 Twin Screw
Cargo Steamer
Brussels 19 June 1902 23 June 1916
1380 Twin Screw Steamer
Yarmouth 1903 27 October 1908
Lost at sea
806 Twin Screw
Cargo Steamer
Clacton 7 February 1905 7 October 1914
820 Twin Screw
Cargo Steamer
Newmarket August 1907 8 October 1914
833 Twin Screw
Cargo Steamer
Copenhagen 27 January 1907 October 1914
2570 Triple Screw
Munich 16 November 1908 10 May 1940
Ship Scuttled
2410 Triple Screw
St Petersburg 7 July 1910 10 December 1939
2448 Triple Screw
Felixstowe April 1919 10 February 1951 892 Single Screw
Cargo Steamer
Frinton 6 November 1919 19 July 1929 1361 Single Screw Steamer
St George June 1919 16 July 1929 2676 Triple Screw
Antwerp June 1920 1 May 1950 2957 Twin Screw Steamer
Bruges 27 September 1920 9 September 1940
2949 Twin Screw Steamer
Malines 17 March 1921 10 May 1940 2969 Twin Screw Steamer

Ships of the London and North Eastern Railway and British Railways[edit]

[7] [8]

Ship's name Date entered service Date withdrawn Tonnage Type of Ship
Sheringham 15 September 1926 June 1940 1088 Single Screw Steamer
23 March 1946 25 October 1958
Vienna 15 July 1929 24 August 1939 4227 Twin Screw Steamer
1 August 1945 2 July 1960
Prague 1930 1 September 1939 4220 Twin Screw Steamer
14 November 1945 24 December 1947
Amsterdam 1930 1 September 1939 4218 Twin Screw Steamer
Arnhem 26 May 1947 27 April 1968 4891 Twin Screw Steamer
Duke of York 31 May 1948 19 July 1963 4325 Twin Screw Steamer
Amsterdam 10 June 1950 7 November 1968 5092 Twin Screw Steamer
Avalon 25 July 1963 31 August 1974 6584 Twin Screw Steamer
Seafreightliner I 17 May 1968 30 July 1986 4043 Twin Screw Motor
Container Ship
Seafreightliner II 24 June 1968 1 August 1986 4034 Twin Screw Motor
Container Ship
St George 17 July 1968 5 June 1983 7356 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
St Edmund 19 January 1975 12 May 1982 8987 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Prins Oberon 12 March 1983 10th June1983 7993 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
St Nicholas 10 June 1983 19 June 1991 17043 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship

Ships operated by Zeeland Steamship Company (SMZ)[edit]

[9] [10]

Ship's name Date entered service Date withdrawn Tonnage Type of Ship
Oranje Nassau 27 August 1945 July 1954 3053 Twin Screw Steamer
Mecklenburg 21 November 1945 25 October 1959 2907 Twin Screw Steamer
Koningin Emma 5 March 1948 December 1968 4353 Twin Screw Motorship
Prinses Beatrix 31 May 1948 September 1968 4353 Twin Screw Motorship
Koningin Wilhelmina 7 February 1960 1 July 1978 6228 Twin Screw Motorship
Koningin Juliana 17 October 1968 8 April 1984 6682 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Prinses Beatrix 29 June 1978 May 1986 9356 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Prins Oberon 11 February 1983 11 March 1983 7993 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Zeeland 1 April 1984 25 March 1986 6801 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Armorique 25 March 1986 16 April 1986 5731 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Koningin Beatrix 16 April 1986 2 June 1997 31189 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship
Duchess Anne January 1989 February 1989 9796 Twin Screw Ro-Ro Motorship

Ships operated by Stena Line BV[edit]


Ship's name Date entered service Date withdrawn Tonnage Remarks
Stena Britannica 19 June 1991 3 March 1994 25,905 Now named Stena Saga
Stena Seatrader 2 May 1990 March 2001 17,991 Sold to Ventouris Ferries, renamed Seatrader
Stena Europe 4 March 1994 1 June 1997 14,378 Now on the Fishguard to Rosslare route
Stena Searider 2 May 1997 October 2000 21,019
Stena Discovery 2 June 1997 8 January 2007 19,638 Sold to Venezuelan interests
Rosebay 8 June 1998 3 October 2000 5,631 Now named Translandia for Eckero Line
Stena Britannica 12 October 2000 25 February 2003 29,841 Now named Finnfellow
Stena Hollandica 9 March 2001 8 May 2010 29,841 Vessel lengthened in 2007. New tonnage 44,237
Stena Britannica 25 February 2003 8 October 2010 43,487 Vessel lengthened in 2007. New tonnage 55,050
Stena Hollandica 16 May 2010 Still in service 64,039
Stena Britannica 9 October 2010 Still in service 64,039

Hoek van Holland - Killingholme[edit]

[11] This route was inaugurated on 8 October 2000 using two old freight RoRo ferries, the Stena Searider, built in 1969, and the Stena Seatrader, built in 1973. The success of this route encouraged a further 200 million euro investment in two replacement ferries for this service. The first vessel, the Stena Trader replaced the Stena Seatrader and commenced operating on 12 August 2006 and the second vessel, the Stena Traveller went into service on 20 June 2007 replacing the Stena Searider.
On 21 May 2010 it was announced that the Stena Trader and Stena Traveller would leave on a five-year charter to the Canadian company, Marine Atlantic, to sail between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Two larger vessels, the Stena Transporter and Stena Transit had already been ordered from Samsung in South Korea as replacements, but would not be ready until 2011. To cover the gap two vessels, the Finnarrow and the Coraggio, were chartered. The first of the new vessels, the Stena Transporter, took over from the Finnarrow on 1 March 2011. The second vessel, the Stena Transit, is due in October 2011.

Vessels that have operated on the Hoek van Holland to Killingholme route

Ship's name Date entered service Date withdrawn Tonnage Remarks
Rosebay 8 October 2000 9 March 2001 5631
Stena Searider 8 October 2000 18 June 2007 20914
Stena Seatrader 14 March 2001 11 August 2006 17991
Stena Trader 12 August 2006 30 September 2010 26660
Stena Traveller 20 June 2007 9 December 2010 26660
Corragio 30 September 2010 6 November 2011 24950
Finnarrow 9 December 2010 28 February 2011 25996
Stena Transporter 1 March 2011 Still in service 33690
Stena Transit 7 November 2011 Still in service 33690

Rotterdam (Europoort) - Harwich[edit]

This route is descended from the Felixstowe to Europort route that was operated by Townsend Thoresen. In 1987 Townsend Thoresen were taken over by P&O Ferries who in turn sold the route in 2002 to Stena who then moved the British end of the operation to Harwich.


  1. ^ a b c Ships Monthly, July 2008. Page 46
  2. ^ Ships Monthly, July 2008. Page 47
  3. ^ a b c Ships Monthly, July 2008. Page 48
  4. ^ Sunday Mirror Fast ferry axed
  5. ^ Aker Yards To build the world's largest ferries for Stena
  6. ^ Harwich Hook of Holland 1893-2010. Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM99 4LP.
  7. ^ Feeder Lines, pt 1 Archived 31 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Harwich Hook of Holland 1893-2010. Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM99 4LP
  9. ^ a b "Välkommen till Fakta om Fartyg". Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Harwich Hook of Holland 1893 to 2010. Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM99 4LP
  11. ^ Harwich Hook of Holland 1893-2010. Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man, IM99 4LP