HSC Stena Explorer
HSC Stena Explorer, Stena Line's first HSS, was constructed by Finnyards in Rauma, Finland, at a cost £65 million. Construction commenced in June 1994 and she was completed in February 1996, eventually entering service on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire run on 10 April 1996. Of catamaran design she was powered by four GE Aviation Gas Turbines driving four waterjets for propulsion. Her sailing time was initially advertised at 99 minutes with a top speed of 40 knots. Her design allowed excellent seakeeping qualities, being allowed to operate in weather conditions with up to four metre waves.
The HSS class of ferries were designed to allow quick turnarounds at port. A specially designed linkspan provides ropeless mooring and allowed quick loading, unloading and servicing. Vehicles were loaded via two of the four stern doors and parked in a "U" configuration. When disembarking, vehicles drove straight off via the other two doors. There was capacity for 1,500 pasengers and 375 cars.
The Stena Explorer had numerous catering facilities, including a bar, coffee shop and quick service restaurant. A business lounge was also available. Also on board were shopping facilities, a video games arcade and seating areas.
After 10 years of operation the increasing cost of fuel restricted her use in the Irish Sea and in 2015 she was withdrawn from service. She has now been sold and is currently located in Turkey.