Stena Challenger
& Stena Traveller




Here Stena Challenger displays the ugly additions to her sharp prow which were necessary for the linkspan to rest on at Calais.


Stena Challenger was designed primarily to carry freight, but was completed with accommodation for five hundred passengers. Earmarked for Dover/Calais service, unflattering modifications were required to enable her heavily slanting bow door to link up with the ramps at the French end. Her christening took place alongside the Eastern Arm at Dover in June of 1991. The honours were performed by the actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones. She was the first new vessel to be delivered to former Sealink U. K. Channel services in eleven years, even if she was just a ‘glorified freighter’. Initially Stena Challenger supported Nord Pas-de-Calais on Dunkerque (Ouest) freight sailings, but traffic did not justify the extra capacity offered. She was marketed thereafter as a 'superferry' on the Calais run.

Much unwanted publicity was attracted when the vessel was washed ashore on the French coast in high winds in October 1995. She spent nearly twenty four hours marooned in the sand while passengers were forced to wait patiently for tugs to pull her away. After repairs Stena Challenger emerged in the full Stena Line livery. After the debut of Stena Empereur in August 1996, she was transferred to Stena’s Holyhead/Dublin Port route where she remained until her sale to Marine Atlantic of Canada. She is now known as Leif Ericson.

A nearly identical sister, Stena Traveller, had a brief spell on the Channel in 1992 when she supplemented sailings on Stena’s recently opened Southampton/Cherbourg service. She lasted just six months, traffic failing to justify her charter fee. She is currently involved in the Scandinavian sector.


M. S. Stena Challenger
Builder: Bruce Shipyard, Landskrona, Norway.
Yard number: 44.
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 157.28 x 24.3 x 5.52 metres.
Tonnages (gross, net, dead weight): 18,523, 5,556, 4,650.
Engines: Two Sulzer Wärtsilä diesel.
Power: 10,560 kW.
Speed (knots): 19.5.
Passenger certificate: 500.
Lane metres (for vehicles): 1,800.

6.10.1990: Launched.
24.5.1991: Delivered to Stena Rederi A. B., Göteborg.
27.6.1991: Entered service for Sealink Stena Line Limited between Dover/Calais.
1992: Transferred to Dover/Dunkerque freight only service.
14.3.1994: Returned to Dover/Calais.
19.9.1995: Ran aground off Calais.
25.9.1995: Sent to Dunkerque for inspection. Repaired and overhauled early at A. & P. in Newcastle.
1.1.1996: Stena Sealink brand replaced by Stena Line.
16.8.1996: Withdrawn from service. Sent to Falmouth for alterations to stern ramp.
17.9.1996: Transferred to Dublin/Holyhead.
13.7.1998: Chartered to provide crossing between Cork/Roscoff for the Tour De France.
4.2000: Sold to Marine Atlantic, Canada for delivery in 2001.
8.4.2001: Withdrawn from service.
20.4.2001: Renamed Leif Ericson.
25.5.2001: Arrived at North Sydney, Canada from Falmouth.


M. S. Stena Traveller
Builder: Bruce Shipyard, Landskrona, Norway.
Yard number: 51.
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 154 x 24 x 5.9 metres.
Tonnages (gross, net, dead weight): 18,332, 6,003.
Engines: Two 8 cylinder, Wärtsilä Sulzer diesel.
Power: 8,980 kW.
Speed (knots): 18.
Passenger certificate: 245.
Lane metres (for vehicles): 1,800.

26.3.1991: Launched.
2.1992: Delivered to Stena Rederi A. B., Göteborg.
1.4.1992: Chartered to Stena Line B.V. Holland. Hoek van Holland/Harwich.
5.1992: Chartered to Sealink Stena Line. Southampton/Cherbourg.
5.12.1992: Chartered to T. T. Line, Germany. Renamed T. T.-Traveller.
11.11.1995: Renamed Stena Traveller. Transferred to Holyhead/Dublin.
16.9.1996: Withdrawn from service.
2.1997: Chartered to T. T. Line, Germany. Renamed T. T.-Traveller.
9.1.2002: Renamed Stena Traveller.




Here Stena Traveller is seen during her brief spell on the Southampton/Cherbourg service of Sealink Stena Line.