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Brittany Ferries Confirms LNG Cruiseferry Order for English Channel

25th June 2017
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Brittany Ferries has ordered a newbuild cruiseferry to be named Honfleur that will operate on the English Channel. The shipyard FSG is also the same German company currently constructing ICG/Irish Ferries new cruiseferry due by mid-2018. Brittany Ferries has ordered a newbuild cruiseferry to be named Honfleur that will operate on the English Channel. The shipyard FSG is also the same German company currently constructing ICG/Irish Ferries new cruiseferry due by mid-2018. Photo: BF

#NewBuild - Almost exactly a year after the Brexit vote, Brittany Ferries on Thursday confirmed an order for a new "£175m LNG cruiseferry for English Channel service.

The 42,400 gross tonnage newbuild (slighty larger to Pont-Aven of 41,000 on the Cork-Roscoff route) will be placed on the company’s busiest route Portsmouth-Caen from spring 2019 – as Brexit negotiations move towards completion.

The new ship will be named Honfleur after the charming seaside destination on the Seine estuary in Normandy. First details have been revealed today after contracts were signed with the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellshaft (FSG) shipyard in Germany.

Afloat adds FSG are currently constructing ICG's €144m euro newbuild cruiseferry for Irish Ferries. The 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry is due to enter operations by mid-2018.  

As for Honfluer, she will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) and promises to be the most environmentally-friendly vessel operating on the English Channel. LNG emits less carbon dioxide than diesel following combustion and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

In LNG-electric propulsion, four engines feed electric generators and two electric propulsion motors. This quieter and more efficient form of power delivery reduces vibration, meaning an even smoother ride for passengers.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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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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