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Swedish ferry company Stena Line has received the delivery of its newest ferry, Stena Embla, which was built at the CMI Jinling Weihai Shipyard in China.

Stena Embla is the third of five new E-Flexer roll-on / roll-off passenger (RoPax) vessels being built at the shipyard.

It is also the last of three new vessels due for the Irish Sea, marking the end of a seven-year development programme with a total investment of £400m on new ferries and port infrastructure in the region.

Stena Embla will now sail for the UK and Ireland where it will join its sister vessels and start its service in January 2021.

The other two new E-Flexer ferries, also built in Weihai, started operating earlier this year.

Stena Line COO Peter Arvidsson said: “Today marks the end of seven years of hard work so we are delighted to take ownership of the third new ship on schedule. With the new crew in place, they can start the long journey to the Irish Sea where Stena Embla will begin serving customers in the UK and Ireland.”

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Stena Line CEO Niclas Mårtensson said: “Taking ownership of Stena Embla is a major milestone for Stena Line as we look forward to better times ahead. While delivery of the vessel marks the end of a very tough period for us, it also marks the completion of a very significant investment in our Irish Sea operations.

“It reflects our strong support for the region that will see three of the world’s most modern ferries operating between Britain and Ireland. We recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the relocation of our Northern Ireland operations to Belfast and 25 years since we commenced the Holyhead to Dublin route. Our three new ferries in the region is a sign of our strong commitment to another 25 years on the Irish Sea.”

The new Stena Line E-Flexer ships are advanced, fuel-efficient, and larger than the standard RoPax vessels.

Featuring a length of 215m, Stena Embla will offer freight capacity of 3,100 lane metres, which is a 40% increase in freight tonnage. It also has the space to transport 120 cars and 1,000 crew and passengers.

The other two E-Flexer vessels currently being built in China will have a total length of 240m each.

In October, Stena Line announced the expansion of its operations across the Baltic Sea region.

From 2021, it plans to replace the current vessels on the Nynäshamn-Ventspils route with two new ferries.

Stena Line has 18 ferry routes in Europe, with three of them operating across the Baltic Sea.