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Brittany Ferries Agreement to Sale Cap Finistère to Italian Operator

14th January 2022
Brittany Ferries to sale Cap Finistère, which a year ago made an Irish debut for the operator on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route as part of the shipping sector's response of demand for freight 'bypass-Brexit' routes to mainland Europe. Above AFLOAT captured Cap Finistère off The Hard, Portsmouth from where since 2010, BF operated initially to Cherbourg/Santander and later added a second service to Spain with Bilbao. The photo taken in 2014 shows the 'Superfast' class ferry with original distintive 'winged' funnel when launched as Superfast V. The wings were subsequently removed along with previous livery as also sported above. Brittany Ferries to sale Cap Finistère, which a year ago made an Irish debut for the operator on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route as part of the shipping sector's response of demand for freight 'bypass-Brexit' routes to mainland Europe. Above AFLOAT captured Cap Finistère off The Hard, Portsmouth from where since 2010, BF operated initially to Cherbourg/Santander and later added a second service to Spain with Bilbao. The photo taken in 2014 shows the 'Superfast' class ferry with original distintive 'winged' funnel when launched as Superfast V. The wings were subsequently removed along with previous livery as also sported above. Credit: Jehan Ashmore

Operator Brittany Ferries has confirmed that it is in the final stages of negotiation for the sale of Cap Finistère to Italian shipping company GNV.

The development comes as the Roscoff-based company prepares to welcome its next ship to the fleet, the Salamanca (second of five 'E-Flexer' class Afloat adds ordered by Stena RoRo on long-term charter to Brittany Ferries).

The newbuild which will arrive in Bilbao in the next few days, completing her six-week voyage from China.

“Cap Finistère has served us well for the last decade and she will be missed by crew, passengers and freight drivers,” said Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries. “She is a fine ship and, I am delighted that GNV will be her new owner. We are now ready to finalise the deal and to bid her a fond farewell.”

The Cap Finistère has served Brittany Ferries since 2010, firstly on the UK-Spain routes. Afloat also adds in addition as reported almost a year ago, the cruiseferry made a debut in Irish waters by launching BF's second route out of Rosslare to Cherbourg in response to freight-bypass Brexit demand. Ropax Connemara would replace the cruiseferry's Ireland-France role. 

The ferry has taken millions of holiday makers to the beautiful regions of northern Spain. It has also transported thousands of units of freight across the Bay of Biscay.

Cap Finistère's service, alongside ships like Pont-Aven and Galicia have helped boost tourism, enrich regions and cement partnerships that will be continue with the introduction of Salamanca and Santoña this year and in 2023 respectively. (All ferries asides Pont-Aven, are E-Flexers).

Constructed in 2001, Cap Finistère is 204 m long, with a top speed of 28 knots and according to the company is one of the prettiest ferries in operation.

The ferry has run Portsmouth to Santander and Portsmouth to Bilbao routes when with Brittany Ferries, carrying up to 1,595 passengers or 110 freight units.

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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