HSS Discovery was built in Finnyards, Rauma in Finland as HSS Stena Discovery to operate between the Hook of Holland to Harwich under a Dutch flag.
She began service in 1997 on the route cutting the time from 6 and a half hours to just 3 hours and 40 minutes and was a favourite amongst passengers.
Like all the HSS 1500 class, Stena Discovery's lounges were bright, spacous and modern for their era. There were TV screens, Neon lighting post and sign-posts to inform passengers how to get around the craft. There was a McDonalds fast-food restaurant onboard as well as a Diner style restaurant next to it. Originally too, there was a Globetrotter Buffet style restaurant at the front of the craft. There were a number of themed bars onboard too including in house brand names from Stena Line such as Spike's Sports Bar, a Globetrotter Casino and Stinger's video styled bar next to a 2.5 by 7 metres wide TV wall. Gaming on the HSS 1500 was also a key factor as there were fruit machines and the latest video games onboard.
Of all the HSS 1500 class, Stena Discovery had slightly more seating to hold more passengers. Her layout was significantly different to that of Stena Voyager and Explorer (her sister vessels before her). During her time in the UK under Stena Line's service she never benifited from an extensive refit.
The HSS 1500 class could reach speeds up to 50 knots (unladen) but operated at a speed of 40 knots in service cutting journey times in half. The power was provided from four gas turbines, they worked in a COGAG configuration. Two of the four were the most powerful GE LM 2500 turbines, whilst the other too were slightly less powerful GE LM 1600 turbines. They are driven by waterjets from the swedish company KaMeWa (now owned by Rolls Royce) and enable the craft to steer 45 degrees port or starboard. Coupled with twin bow-thrusters on each of the crafts hulls, meant whilst docking the Stena Discovery could perform a 360 degree turn in less than 2 minutes.
Another key feature of the HSS 1500 class is precision docking. When the craft approached port, they'd turn around fully and reverse into dock all within 5 minutes. There are over 60 cameras around the craft used for docking and monitoring wave heights around the vessel which played a key roll in the turnaround times. The total time was 30 minutes for a full turnaround including reloading up to 375 cars, or 50 lorries and 100 cars including 1500 passengers thanks to the speacilly designed HSS linkspan at all the crafts original ports.
Issues and Incidents
In 2007, Stena Line announced they were decommisionning the Stena Discovery from service because of the increasing cost of fuel. Aproximatly £30,000 per day was spent on fuel with the Discovery's four crossings a day. The vessel was laid up in Belfast Harbour in 2007 and remained there until her sale to Albamar Shipping Company of Venezuala in 2009. Her Stena livery was removed and the 'Stena' prefix was removed from her name making her HSS Discovery .
The future for the HSS Discovery to this date does not look good. Since her sale to Venezuala in 2009, she has not moved or began a new service as the company do not yet have HSS linkspans. They remain at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Various attempts have been made to ship them but as of now have failed.
|Belfast - Stranraer (1996)||Hoek Van Holland - Harwich (1997 - 2007)||HSC Stena Explorer||HSC Stena Voyager||HSC HSS Discovery|