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Brittany Ferries Invest €17m in 'Green' Technology on Pont-Aven

20th April 2016
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Brittany Ferries flagship Pont-Aven seen with new funnel fitted with green 'scrubber' technology Brittany Ferries flagship Pont-Aven seen with new funnel fitted with green 'scrubber' technology Photo: Brittany Ferries

#CutEmissions - Brittany Ferries has invested €17 million to cut fuel emissions from its flagship Pont-Aven with the installation of exhaust gas cleaning systems.

As previously reported on Afloat, Pont-Aven is unique in that it is the only ferry operating in Irish waters in 2016 to be fitted with “scrubbers”, which dramatically reduce sulphur emissions to almost zero and significantly reduce particulate output.

Hugh Bruton, General Manager of Brittany Ferries Ireland said, “As a company, we have a profound respect for the environment and we have made a significant investment to ensure that our passengers will be travelling on the cleanest and most environmentally-friendly ship to operate in Irish waters this year. The installation of the scrubbers is just one of a number of steps that we have implemented as we strive to achieve sustainable tourism.”

The scrubbers were installed at the renowned Gdansk shipyard in Poland, before the commencement of the 2016 Cork-Roscoff sailing season earlier this month. The work on the Pont-Aven marks the completion of a major €80 million project over 18 months by Brittany Ferries to significantly improve the environmental performance of its six-strong car ferry fleet in Ireland and the UK.

Mike Bevens, Group Commercial Director at Brittany Ferries added, “Today we are still largely owned by the collective of French farmers who launched the company more than 40 years ago, with the aim of linking territories and improving trade. These aims have always been framed by a will to respect the environments in which we operate and this significant investment is testament to our on-going commitment.”

Brittany Ferries implements various measures to reduce the impact of its operations and to support organisations that promote conservation work including:

Cutting CO2 emissions while sailing
Brittany Ferries operations are planned to minimise fuel consumption, by reducing speed on overnight crossings. The effects of tides and the wind are also harnessed to optimise fuel efficiency.

Our water discharge policy
The Pont-Aven is fitted with water treatment units so that uncontaminated water is discharged to sea, and at a minimum of 12 nautical miles from the coast. Polluted water is stored on board, then discharged on shore, to be disposed of by certified waste disposal contractors.

Using anti-fouling paints
Brittany Ferries uses the latest silicon-based anti-fouling paints to coat the submerged parts of hulls. These are low in toxicity and also enhance flow through the water, aiding fuel efficiency and thereby reducing CO2.

Conservation work
The Pont-Aven is taking part in the longest running marine biological survey in the world, towing continuous plankton recorders (CPR) for SAHFOS. Brittany Ferries also works with whale and dolphin charity ORCA. Wildlife officers are hosted on the Pont-Aven throughout the summer to monitor and report on whale and dolphin sightings though the Bay of Biscay. This helps government fulfil its obligations under the Habitats Directive, but also supports conservation work to protect these beautiful sea creatures.

The Pont-Aven continues to offer the fastest direct ferry crossing from Ireland to France, taking just 14 hours and operating to a convenient weekend schedule. The state-of-the-art ship is the newest and most modern ship to be found on any direct crossing between Ireland and France. Passengers onboard enjoy unmatched cruise style standards and award-winning service and cuisine. Facilities include pool and bar areas with panoramic sea views, two cinemas, shopping malls, luxurious spa treatments and a wide range of restaurants, as well as complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas of the ship.

Published in Ferry
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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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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