Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

White-Hot As Plasma Splits Steel for Brittany Ferries English Channel Newbuild Honfleur

14th March 2018

#FerryNews - It was getting white-hot as plasma jets cut through sheets of steel for Brittany Ferries English Channel newbuild cruiseferry Honfleur at the FSG shipyard Germany, which is completing Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats due to enter service this summer. 

The steel cutting ceremony of Brittany Ferries’ Honfleur on Monday, marked the first step of the cruiseferry that will take little over a year to complete. By June 2019, the metal being cut will form part of a complex and complete 42,400 gross-tonne vessel, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), making her first crossing from Portsmouth to Caen, Normandy.

“This is a very exciting day for everyone at Brittany Ferries,” commented Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO speaking from the yard. “In little over one year, a mighty ship will rise, ready to carry passengers in comfort, style and on the cleanest vessel regularly operating on the Channel. Today’s ceremony is like a glimpse into the future of sustainable ferry travel. It is a future that is not so far away for millions of holidaymakers and freight customers.”

Brittany Ferries will tell the story of the build through a new website, www.destinationhonfleur.com . It will host regular news updates, video interviews and a stunning gallery featuring shipbuilding and destination imagery, all free to download in high res.

Steel cutting, of course, is not the start of the process. Before Honfleur is built in steel, she is built virtually. Every other cut and weld has been carefully planned, along with the countless other operations required to build such a complex craft. For shipbuilding in the 21st century is as much about CAD design, complexity management and logistics as it is about forming steel.

When complete, Honfleur will carry up to 1,680 passengers, 550 cars and 64 trailers and come with 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and expansive passenger lounges. Wi-Fi will come as standard in all areas of the ship, including cabins and access from the car decks to passenger areas will be made as easy as possible for all passengers.

She will be the first ferry regularly operating on the English Channel, powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas). This fuel emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than diesel and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Her dual fuel engines coupled with LNG-electric propulsion will bring further efficiency, as well as a smoother and quieter ride for passengers.

Overseeing the project is naval architect Brice Robinson, working on his fifth vessel for the company. He is based in Germany with a team for the duration of the build. “Building a ship is a little like cooking,” he summarised. “It’s a recipe that requires the same quality ingredients, but you optimise the mix every time during its preparation. And with experience, you make it better and better.”

Project: Honfluer milestones:

Steel cutting: March 2018
Keel laying: August 2018
Launch: December 2018

Sea trials: March 2019
Delivery /naming ceremony: May 2019
Entry into service: June 2019

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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).

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating