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Displaying items by tag: Rosslare debut

The third and newest E-Flexer class of Brittany Ferries, Santoña which entered service this year, has made its maiden ‘Irish’ port of call, having completed a crossing from Cherbourg to Rosslare Europort, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to Rosslare Europort, Santoña made its first call on Monday, as the liquidfied natural gas (LNG) powered cruiseferry replaced Salamanca, the second of the class which followed leadship Galicia which too had served the port previously. The Salamanca was withdrawn last month from the Ireland-France route due to operational requirements elsewhere across Brittany Ferries extensive route network, involving Ireland, UK, France and Spain.

With the Santoña now on the direct continental link, the successor also sails to Spain (not to Bilbao) but instead on a 'temporary' winter Rosslare-Santander route. Noting as Afloat reported last month, Salamanca when on a crossing from Cherbourg was diverted from the Irish port due to Storm Ciarán. This led to an unscheduled call to Ringaskiddy ferry terminal in Cork Harbour.

Arriving also to Ringaskiddy then was Armorique, a regular caller on the Brittany Ferries route from Roscoff, which last weekend marked the first ever winter operated service, since the French company established their seasonal connection to Ireland in 1978.

Also new to the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, is the redeployment of a second ferry, the ropax Cotentin, the name of the peninsula where the port of Cherbourg is situated at the northern tip jutting into the English Channel. Further to the east at Le Havre, where Brittany Ferries closed their continental link with Rosslare, served by Cotentin until a final sailing took place in the first weekend of this month, marking the end of two years of service driven by freight demand due to Brexit.

As Afloat previously highlighted, the introduction of a second ferry by Brittany Ferries follows the impressive record boost in trade when Stena Line’s introduced this summer the Stena Vision, providing a full cruise-ferry option along with the route’s near decade serving ropax, Stena Horizon.

Published in Brittany Ferries

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).