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Brittany Ferries celebrated fifty years to the day (2 January, 1973) since its first voyage (and 50 years plus one since the UK joined the common market) when it launched its Roscoff-Plymouth route. To mark the voyage their flagship, Pont-Aven was re-routed to make a special sailing from France to the UK yesterday.

The company which operates on the English Channel from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth (and France-Ireland and UK-Spain) is bringing more than 120 representatives of twinning associations in Brittany to meet their counterparts in Cornwall, Devon and Wales for a reception and dinner on board flagship Pont-Aven in Plymouth. The voyage started from Roscoff in Brittany yesterday morning (at 09:00 UK time).

“Today is all about celebrating what we have done for 50 years,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO.

“We want to reinvigorate the entente cordiale among people who are closer to each other politically and culturally than they are to centres of power in Paris and London. We are proud to have served the regions of northwest France and southwest England, bringing people together for 50 years, and we look forward to continuing this beautiful adventure together.”

Entertainment on board has come courtesy of Breton band Dremmwel. Their gentle tunes have been used as wake-up music in cabins for decades.

In total Brittany Ferries estimates Dremmwel have provided the soundtrack to the start of 24 million holidays in Brittany, Normandy and northern Spain.

Published in Brittany Ferries

Belfast Harbour has announced its launch programme of celebratory events to mark the landmark 175th anniversary year of Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

Local communities and visitors alike are invited to share in a summer-long calendar of events that will mark the innovations of the past and celebrate the ongoing transformative impact of Belfast Harbour on the City’s landscape.

Taking place along Belfast’s iconic waterfront and Maritime Mile in the coming months, communities can share in a host of activities that will showcase the significant economic and social contribution of Belfast Harbour to the region over many generations.

From its foundation in 1847, Belfast Harbour Commissioners has been at the forefront of innovation, establishing Belfast as a world leading maritime Port.

In recent decades, Belfast Harbour has continued to transform its Harbour Estate, creating an iconic waterfront district for all communities to enjoy, and developing a key economic hub for the region.

As a Trust Port, Belfast Harbour is celebrating 175 years of investing in both the Port and in its stakeholder communities. As a socially responsible Port, Belfast Harbour is committed to developing sustainably across all aspects of its diverse trading portfolio and to delivering clear social and economic impact.

Belfast Harbour’s current programme of £254 million of strategic investments in its Port and wider estate continues to build on the legacies of past generations, by developing a modern and resilient Port and estate, that generates jobs and stimulates social and economic growth. 

The delivery of Belfast Harbour’s ambitious ‘Port for Everyone’ vision, and its significant programme of community investments also ensures that Belfast Harbour continues to provide a gateway to opportunity for current and future generations. 

Joe O’Neill, Chief Executive at Belfast Harbour said: “For decades Belfast Harbour Commissioners has been known for its civic leadership and contribution to the growth and development of the city of Belfast and the whole region.

“We are proud of our heritage and draw inspiration from the work started 175 years ago, as we continue to innovate and deliver for the people of this region and play our part in the ongoing evolution and transformation of Belfast”.

Working in close partnership with Maritime Belfast Trust, the milestones that mark Belfast Harbour’s 175-year journey so far, will be celebrated in the coming months in a range of activities along Belfast’s Maritime Mile. 

An outdoor photographic gallery is already open for free public access on Belfast’s iconic waterfront, marking the start of the 175th anniversary celebrations. Delivered in partnership with Belfast Photo Festival, the City Quays Gallery, will showcase the work of world class photographic artists until September 2022.

For more information and updates about activities happening at Belfast Harbour in 2022, follow Belfast Harbour on social media or visit the website

Published in Belfast Lough

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).