Over the next two months, seven Stena Line vessels will visit the shipyard on a carefully sequenced timetable to facilitate a range of specialist works including annual inspections, passenger facility upgrade work as well as ongoing technical enhancements.

Stena Line recently celebrated 20 years of its operations in Belfast. In 2015, Stena Line transported 1.4 million passengers, 318 000 cars and almost 500 000 freight units on its Belfast services to Cairnryan, Liverpool and Heysham, employing 900 staff.

Paul Grant, Stena Line’s Route Manager, said: “Our refits are very important to ensure the smooth and safe running of our expanding fleet of ships. The decision to place the majority of our refit contract work with Harland and Wolff allows us to play our part in helping to support local business.”

Paul added: “Furthermore, the good working relationship with Stena Line has helped introduce the shipyard to other companies within the Stena Group and we were delighted to see our sister company Stena Bulk bring the 117 000 ton ice class Aframax tanker Stena Arctica to Belfast for the first time in a £1m specialist inspection survey and upgrade programme in November 2015.”

Stuart Wilson, Harland and Wolff’s General Manager (Ship Repair) said: “We are delighted that our relationship with Stena goes from strength to strength. This key partnership is integral to the business growth enjoyed by both companies and we look forward to working with Stena in 2016 and beyond.”

Over the last 5 years, Stena Line has supported the local ship refit and repair industry to the tune of £13m with a range of refit, upgrade and maintenance projects which have helped to secure the retention of key ship repair skills in Northern Ireland for the longer term.