Swedish ferry company Stena Line has announced the successful completion of sea trials by Stena Embla in China’s Yellow Sea.

Stena Embla, which is the latest in the Stena Line’s next generation of roll-on / roll-off passenger (RoPax) vessels, is destined for the Irish Sea. It is being constructed at the CMI Jingling Weihai Shipyard in China.

The company noted that sea trials are designed to ensure that all systems are fully functional and in line with its strict specifications.

It includes tests to assess engine performance and fuel consumption, navigation and radio equipment, and emergency systems.

Additionally, speed tests, manoeuvrability, engine and thruster tests, as well as safety tests, are conducted as part of the sea trial.

Stena Line Irish Sea Trade director Paul Grant said: “It is great to see that the shipyard has not missed a beat during this year’s final stages of the build. Today, the last of our three next-generation ferries achieved a very important milestone bang on time.

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“Sea trials are a critical phase in a new ship’s development. It is our first opportunity to test a new vessel out at sea and put her through her paces to ensure that she is up to our high standards.

“We systematically go through all aspects of the new ship and I am pleased to say that Stena Embla has successfully completed every trial. We now look forward to the full handover of the vessel by the shipyard and starting her journey to the Irish Sea.”

The company said that the global pandemic did not delay the construction of the vessel and it will be delivered on the agreed schedule.

The company expects to hand over Stena Embla by the end of this year at the shipyard before it officially starts its sail from China to Belfast.

It is expected to operate on the Belfast-Liverpool route from January next year.

Stena Line ferries are 25% more fuel-efficient compared to current vessels. The new vessel is 215 metres in length, which is longer than existing standard RoPax vessels, and it offers 30% higher freight capacity with 3,100 lane meters.

Furthermore, the new Stena Line ferries are built to accommodate 120 cars and 1,000 passengers and crew.

Stena Estrid and Stena Edda, the sister ships of the Stena Embla, started operations on the Irish Sea in March this year.