Stena Invicta

Stena Invicta is seen heading out into the Channel in her first year of service for Sealink Stena Line.
Photo: Maritime Photographic.

Constructed in 1985 as Peder Paars (the Danish translation of Peter Pan) this robust looking vessel was built for a domestic link within Denmark. The provision of a suspension bridge in 1990 rendered her redundant. She was sold by Danish State Railways to Stena Line for an expensive forty million pounds and was sent for a comprehensive renovation prior to her debut on the Dover/Calais route with the locally orientated name of Stena Invicta. Her christening took place along the Eastern Arm at the Kent port on a Spring day in 1991. The naming ceremony was performed by Pam Ferris, an actress in the television drama, 'The Darling Buds of May'. The previous Invicta was built in 1942 and survived three decades of service. Stena Invicta was not so fortunate. The short sea service was intense and she could not keep up to schedule as a result of her weak engines. Her upper vehicle deck had limited headroom and could not accommodate lorries. Overall, she was an operational disappointment. With the creation of P. & O. Stena Line, the disposal of Stena Invicta was the first rationalisation. She is pictured in Stena Sealink and Stena Line colours, displaying the huge funnel and mast that made her such a distinctive sight during her spell. Her funnel, incidentally, concealed the tanks for her hot water supply.

M. S. Peder Paars
Builder: Nakskov Skipsværft, Nakskov, Denmark.
Yard number: 233.
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 134.02 x 24.61 x 5.65 metres.
Tonnages (gross, net, dead weight): 19,763, 9,130, 2,238.
Engines: Two B. & W. diesel.
Power: 16,960 kW.
Speed (knots): 17.5.
Passenger certificate: 1,720.
Car capacity: 350.

14.5.1985: Launched.
18.10.1985: Delivered to D. S. B. Färjedivision, Århus, Denmark.
19.11.1985: Entered service Århus/Kalundborg.
10.1990: Sold to Stena Line A. B., Göteborg.
20.5.1991: Renamed Stena Invicta. Registered at Dover.
5.1991: Sent to Schichau-Seebeckswerft, Bremerhaven, for renovation.
8.7.1991: Entered service Dover/Calais.
3.1998: Withdrawn from service and laid up.
20.4.1998: Chartered to Silja Line, Vasa, Finland. Unofficially renamed Wasa Jubilee.
19.10.1998: Laid up at Zeebrugge.
4.2000: Chartered to Color Line A. S., Oslo, Norway. Renamed Color Viking. Strömstad/Sandefjord.
5.2001: Sold to Color Line A. S. Oslo, Norway.

A view of that massive funnel from the adjacent Fiesta at Dover Eastern Docks.

Stena Invicta gently glides into Calais harbour wearing the livery of Stena Sealink Line on a July afternoon in 1994.

Here she looks smart in full Stena Line colours as she passes the French coast nearly three years later.