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Bretagne Returns to Brittany's Ferries Service for End of Season Sailings

19th October 2014
Bretagne Returns to Brittany's Ferries Service for End of Season Sailings

#BrittanyFerries – Bretagne, Brittany Ferries first custom-built 'cruise-ferry' made a rare call to Cork Harbour's Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal yesterday, the arrival of the vessel from Roscoff was the first this season which started in March, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Cork-Roscoff sailings are otherwise operated by the larger Pont-Aven (2004/41,746grt), another cruiseferry ordered by the Breton based company which required a vessel to cater for 2,400 passengers in luxurious surroundings and space for 650 cars.

As previously reported, Pont-Aven this season marked her 10th season since introduction on the Ireland-France link replacing Bretagne (1989/24,543grt). Two year's after Pont-Aven's Irish debut, the Bretagne returned to the route for a once-off round trip in 2006 as Pont-Aven was chartered for spectator duties during the yachting spectacle of the Race de Rhum.

Bretagne's normal route is Portsmouth-St. Malo in which sailings are currently covered by Pont-Aven which in addition to running on the Irish link serves Roscoff-Plymouth as well to UK-Spain routes.

The reason for switching vessels is to meet requirements of winter sailings and rosters for each member of the Brittany Ferries fleet to take turns to dry-dock for annual overhauls.

This year, Bretagne celebrates her 25th anniversary since entering service in 1989. The cruiseferry with a capacity for 1,926 passengers and 580 cars is the only member of the Brittany Ferries fleet to have been built in France, when she was launched by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire. Likewise of Pont-Aven she was commissioned to serve Roscoff-Plymouth, UK-Spain services and operate a once weekly service to Cork.

Bretagne will continue to operate the shoulder season of the Irish service with a further two Roscoff-Cork round trips of the weekend-only operated route. The final sailing from France is on 31 October and from Ireland the last crossing is to take place on 1 November.

The 2015 season starts with the return of Pont-Aven with an outward bound sailing from Cork on 21 March. Sailings take 14 hours on what is the shortest crossing time between Ireland and France.

 

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

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