Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Brittany Ferries Charter of New Ship Will Secure 2020 Season Schedules

20th June 2019
5970 Views
A Visentini-class ropax Afloat adds likewise of Connemara (above) is to be chartered as the third type of this Italian built series to join Brittany Ferries when it is introduced in November. The charter is to deliver greater flexibility to a route network that connects Ireland, France, Spain and the UK. A Visentini-class ropax Afloat adds likewise of Connemara (above) is to be chartered as the third type of this Italian built series to join Brittany Ferries when it is introduced in November. The charter is to deliver greater flexibility to a route network that connects Ireland, France, Spain and the UK. Photo: Brittany Ferries

A one-year charter by Brittany Ferries of an additional ropax ship is being finalised ahead of the 2020 season.

The ropax will be operated by Brittany Ferries from November 2019 until November 2020. The goal is to deliver additional flexibility to a route network that connects Ireland, France, Spain and the UK.

The ship is to be chartered from Stena Ro-Ro and currently sails between Ancona and Trieste in Italy. The Visentini-class vessel will be the third of its kind on the Brittany Ferries fleet, joining Etretat and Connemara in November.

“This charter is an important step in our 2020 season planning,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO. “We know that our flagship Pont-Aven will be out of service for at least ten weeks in the winter for the replacement of one of her four engines. This will leave a significant gap in capacity across our network.

“We also need to be sure that our fleet can cope with any potential delays in the delivery of our next cruise-ferry Honfleur, ahead of the busy 2020 summer season. For these two reasons, we have taken the prudent decision to charter a new vessel for one year.

“Furthermore, and given what we learnt from Government Brexit no-deal preparations in March and April, we believe it is sensible to generate additional capacity to prepare for the impacts of Brexit, should it happen at the end of October and should our services be needed.”

The new charter will take over Brittany Ferries sailings from Cork to Santander, extending the operating window for this service. The route, which represents the first time Spain and Ireland have been connected by ferry in their history, was opened in May 2018 for an initial two-year trial.

Connemara, which operates between Cork and Santander today, will be brought under the French-flag. This is six months earlier than originally planned and reinforces Brittany Ferries commitment to the employment of French seafarers.

Following her re-flagging, Connemara will be free to cover scheduled dry-dock periods for other vessels over the winter and to release Etretat (currently operating Portsmouth to Le Havre) to cover services from the UK to Spain in April.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Webcams

webcam sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating