Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Brittany Ferries Confirm Termination of Honfleur's German Shipbuilding Contract

22nd June 2020
CGI image: The constract for Brittany Ferries newbuild LNG powered cruiseferry Honfleur has been confirmed as cancelled with the same German shipyard that ICG (owners of Irish Ferries) recently cancelled an order from for a second newbuild ferry based on the design of W.B. Yeats. CGI image: The constract for Brittany Ferries newbuild LNG powered cruiseferry Honfleur has been confirmed as cancelled with the same German shipyard that ICG (owners of Irish Ferries) recently cancelled an order from for a second newbuild ferry based on the design of W.B. Yeats. Photo: Brittany Ferries

Operator Brittany Ferries and Somanor confirm the termination of the Honfleur shipbuilding contract.

The ferry company and Somanor confirmed the termination, on 17th June 2020, of the shipbuilding contract for Honfleur, a ferry powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Somanor SAS (a semi-public company bringing together the Normandy Region, and the Calvados and Manche Departments), and Brittany Ferries have confirmed the termination of the construction contract for Honfleur with the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) shipyard. 

(Afloat adds the same German shipyard built cruiseferry W.B. Yeats (for ICG, parent company of Irish Ferries) had delayed construction of Honfleur. In addition as reported, ICG's order for a larger version of the cruiseferry was recently cancelled)

The Honfleur has been under construction in Flensburg, Germany, since 2017. Honfleur was originally scheduled to enter service in June 2019, but delivery of the vessel has been postponed several times due to persistent financial problems encountered by the yard’s management.

The change of main shareholder in September 2019, with the arrival of Lars Windhorst and the Tennor group, did not allow the yard to return to growth and competitiveness.

With the surprise announcement that the yard was placed under the protection of the Commercial Court in May 2020, and unsuccessful discussions with the current management of FSG and its main creditors, Somanor and Brittany Ferries, the backers of Honfleur, acknowledged that they had lost confidence in the yard’s ability to complete the vessel within a reasonable period of time.

Afloat also adds the newbuild was to enter service on the English Channel based out of Portsmouth. 

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

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum 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