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It has been confirmed by Brittany Ferries that its Cork-Roscoff route will resume service this Friday as expected.

The announcement reports EchoLive.ie comes three weeks after the Pont Aven ferry suffered a hydraulic failure impacting thousands of people expecting to sail between Cork and the French port.

Difficulties in securing parts for repairs to the ship meant the vessel was out of action longer than Brittany Ferries had originally expected.

While Brittany Ferries said it was working with those affected in arranging alternative plans or refunds, some people felt they were left in the dark.

More on the story can be read here

Published in Ferry

The operator of the Cork/Roscoff route, Brittany Ferries regrets its flagship cruise-ferry Pont-Aven, which has been out of service undergoing repairs since Friday 17th May, will now not be able to resume sailings until Friday 14th June.

As a consequence the company in a statement has confirmed Pont-Aven's sailings on the company’s Cork/Roscoff route have had to be cancelled this weekend (Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st June) and the following weekend (Friday 7th and Saturday 8th June).

In addition to a number of cancelled sailings (albeit based out of the UK) on the company’s Plymouth/Santander and Plymouth/Roscoff routes.

The company’s technical teams have been working around the clock with the Damen shipyard in Brest to carry out repairs to the ship’s starboard-side steering gear (Afloat adds this follows a separate incident that took place late last month). Despite these efforts it has now become apparent that this work will take longer than initially planned, whilst replacement parts are delivered and installed, and comprehensive checks are carried out.

“On behalf of everyone at Brittany Ferries I would like to apologise profusely for the further delays to the return of our flagship Pont-Aven, and the disruption that this will cause to travel plans. It’s a frustrating situation, but our priority now is to contact all customers who will be affected by this situation and to make sure that we look after them as best as we can.” said Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries.

In order to give affected customers the best possible opportunity to arrange alternative sailings, additional sailings will be operated on the Plymouth/Roscoff route, and some Cork/Santander rotations will be diverted to Cork/Roscoff.

Over the coming days the company’s customer relations teams will be contacting all customers with bookings aboard Pont-Aven for travel between now and 14th June. Those who are due to sail soonest will be contacted first. An alternative sailing will be offered where it is available, but if no suitable alternative is available then a full refund will be offered. Due to the exceptional number of phone calls involved, affected customers are kindly requested not to call, but to wait to be contacted by Brittany Ferries.

For further updates they will be posted online (click here) on the operators website. 

Published in Ferry

Brittany Ferries have been forced yet again to cancel sailings on its Cork-Roscoff route due to operational reasons as flagship Pont-Aven continues to be beset with technical issues, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Currently Pont-Aven remains in dry-dock at Damen Shiprepair, Brest, following an hydraulic problem which took place in mid-May while on a sailing from the UK to France.

The incident led in turn to cancelled sailings on the Ireland-France route where affected passengers to date and next weekend (1 June) have been offered to defer the sailing to a later date (subject to availability) or cancel and receive a full refund.

Brittany Ferries are in the process of assisting customers and await a confirmed date of Pont-Aven's return (see updates) in addition the operator have taken the precaution of blocking any further bookings on cruiseferry between now and 7 June.

Communication of developments will also be made as soon as possible via our sailings update page.

An in-depth investigation has begun by the French operator into the incident.

Commenting about the incident Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO who said “We are all truly sorry for the further problems with our flagship vessel Pont-Aven. Unfortunately she has suffered two technical problems in rapid succession. While the previous engine problem, which reduced the ship’s speed from 24 knots to 20 knots, is entirely unrelated to the current steering gear issue, the consequence of further bad luck is significant inconvenience for our passengers."

The German built Pont-Aven is fitted with two entirely independent Rotary Vane steering gears, each operating one of two rudders. These are self-contained units positioned at her stern directly above the rudders . Hydraulic oil is injected at high pressure into a series of chambers which operate the rotating part of the steering servo-motors. As these chambers fill, the rotor turns, thus moving each rudder in the desired direction.

According to Brittany Ferries, Pont-Aven’s engineers were alerted to low oil pressure in the starboard steering gear. An oil leak was identified which caused the pressure loss and a reduction in steering capacity. Under these circumstances, the decision was immediately taken to take Pont-Aven out of service in Roscoff, for investigation and remedial work to be carried out in Brest.

Unfortunately, following further investigation it was found that damage to the starboard side steering gear was more extensive than originally suspected. This has meant a longer lay-over in Brest than originally planned to source replacement parts and carry out a comprehensive repair.

A repair procedure has been defined with the agreement of Bureau Veritas (certification authority) and the manufacturer. In parallel, a complete check of the port steering gear has been carried out.

Published in Ferry

#ferries - Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff cruise-ferry Pont-Aven began today its first sailing in 2019 on the seasonal route and will save energy and reduce fuel consumption thanks to the installation of two innovative devices on the ship's propellers.

Wärtsilä‘s EnergoProfin system is a small sub-prop, which is attached to the main propeller helmet, helping improve propulsion in water. Two of these devices were installed during the ship’s dry dock in December 2018. As a consequence fuel consumption and emissions have been cut by around 2% on every crossing.

This project is a small – but significant – step and it comes as part of a range of studies initiated through Brittany Ferries’ Research and Development program. But, as Vincent Coquen, Head of R&D, Energy and Environment for the company, explains, it is not just a question of developing practical and technical solutions for today such as the propellers on Pont-Aven.

“Sustainable development means looking to the future and studying innovative projects and technologies that could be used in either the short or longer term,” he said.

For the past two years, Brittany Ferries has partnered with CEA Tech in France. Several projects are underway, including the development of a long-range broadband link that would use land-based transmitters to obviate the use of satellite-at-sea. A second study focuses on hybrid energy solutions for Cap Finistère, Brittany Ferries cruise-ferry that sails from the UK to Spain. The last is exploring the long-term implementation of fuel cells for powering certain of the ship's on-board systems.

Brittany Ferries is also looking at the potential for wind energy. Flettner rotors, traction wings, or modern sails are at different stages of development, but could significantly reduce ship fuel consumption and therefore emissions.

“Of course, we must be cautious, checking the feasibility of integrating these technologies on board our ships, in terms of safety, reliability and profitability,” added Vincent Coquen. “But I am convinced that they will have a significant role in the equation that ship-owners must solve to achieve the zero emissions ship.”

Published in Ferry

#ferry - A fresh new look involving a splash of colour across the Brittany Ferries fleet sees a bright new logo in striking shades of blue, orange and green!

The new design, which comes with a more modern, warm and lyrical typeface, will be applied to each ship during refit, and will eventually be emblazoned on the side of every vessel’s hull and funnel.

The logo according to Brittany Ferries is the result of extensive customer research. The design more truly reflects the fullness of the ferry operator's experience: the richness of travel by sea, the warmth of the welcome ashore and on board, and the spirit of discovery for some of Western Europe’s most beautiful holiday destinations.

As well as a ferry operator Brittany Ferries is a holiday company too, with four decades of experience arranging sail-and-stay packages. Today the company offers thousands of hotels and holiday properties in France, Spain, Ireland and the UK making it one of Europe’s leading tour operators. The new logo reflects its destinations, with blue, green and orange shades evoking the seas, landscapes and skies of the holiday regions Brittany Ferries serves

On the Irish services, Afloat adds is the Cork-Roscoff (seasonal) service that ended earlier this month (see Pont-Aven's Route du Rhum story) though the newly launched first ever direct Ireland-Spain route of Cork-Santander continues sailings on a year-round basis.

The new visual identity comes as part of a multi-million euro investment to make Brittany Ferries fit for the future. Three brand new ships are currently under construction and due to join the fleet in 2019 Honfleur, 2021 Galicia and 2022 Salamanca, see story. Afloat adds Honfleur, a LPG powered ferry under construction at the FSG yard in Germany, is to enter English Channel service between Portsmouth-(Oustreham) Caen.

A wide-ranging digital transformation programme is also underway, aimed at enhancing every aspect of the customer experience from researching to booking, checking-in, sailing, holidaying and returning home.

Florence Gourdon, marketing director explains: “This is the right time for an exciting change. We last evolved our logo 15 years ago (see Bretagne, former flagship on Irish route) and so much has changed in that time – for example we now live in a digital world. And while the previous logo fully communicated the reliability and trustworthiness of our ferry service, it didn’t fully embody the emotional side of travelling and holidaying with Brittany Ferries and the discoveries inherent in the fabulous destinations we serve.”

“This new look stands for everything that makes our brand: the quality of our products and services, the passion, pride and professionalism of our teams, and our bright future with brand new ships and rich experiences on the horizon.”

The new design was first glimpsed by eagle-eyed ship spotters at the shipyards where Armorique and Pont-Aven are currently undergoing winter refits.

Afloat adds Pont-Aven is recieving such work as part of routine winter drydocking in Spain at the Astander Yard in Astilleo. The flagship having shifted on 11 November from nearby Santander where the direct continental Cork service as previously mentioned is maintained year round by the chartered-in ropax tonnage, Connemara.

The ships from the fleet will shortly return to service sporting the new look. The new logo will be unveiled further over the coming days. Then, and throughout 2019 it will be rolled out across all Brittany Ferries sites, marketing and operations including everything from signs, brochures, uniforms, to advertising and websites.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Brittany Ferries final Ireland-France seasonal sailing saw a former flagship cover for routine route flagship Pont-Aven, which otherwise was engaged in Route du Rhum duties, writes Jehan Ashmore. 

This year, Cork-Roscoff which achieved the best performing service of the French company's route network (incl. UK, France and Spain) saw the return of former flagship Bretagne to Irish waters. The 1989 built Bretagne first operated on the Irish service until 1992. The ferry normally operates St. Malo-Portsmouth was redeployed to the Roscoff-Cork (Ringaskiddy) last Saturday morning before returning overnight to Brittany arrival on Sunday morning.

On that same day, fleetmate Pont-Aven, given it's flagship status is required as the official Route du Rhum start vessel to depart St. Malo where the race began in the afternoon. Earlier upon completion of Bretagne final end of season from Cork, disembarked passengers and vehicles in Roscoff. From the Breton port is where the cruiseferry carried spectators to the race start further along the 'Granite' coast off St. Malo.

The practice of deploying a different ferry on Cork-Roscoff's final sailing is a routine occurrence every four years as this is to facilite the start of the Route du Rhum. Since its inception in 1978, Brittany Ferries have been an official partner. This year is also significant as it aptly coincides with the 40th anniversary of establishing the Ireland-France link, when the Armorique made the maiden sailing as Afloat reported earlier this year.

Roll on 40 years, as when Bretagne reached the waters off St. Malo for the Route du Rhum, the near 30 year old cruiseferry joined Pont-Aven. In addition, Afloat having tracked ferry activity, noted the specially reactivated, Normandie Express having departed Cherbourg, Normandy, is from where the fast-ferry also ended seasonal service to Portsmouth albeit back in September.

The trio of ferries were all chartered to allow spectators and sponsors of the Route du Rhum watch the start of the race spectacle. The yachts headed off on a transatlantic spectacular as the loan skippers brave the elements in a dash to Guadeloupe, an insular region of France located in the Caribbean Sea.

Following the departure of the main flotilla heading further west into the English Channel, Normandie Express it was noted was the first ferry to leave the sailing scene by returning to Cherbourg, while Pont-Aven proceeded to St. Malo. The flagship then began sailings on the company's cross channel crossing to Portsmouth. This service otherwise operated routinely by Bretagne which returned to Roscoff to disembark race followers.

For the first time the Port of Cork continues with a Brittany Ferries presence year round, as in the summer a newly launched 'direct' Ireland-Spain (Santander) service began. The économie branded service is operated throughout the year. 

As for traffic figures (click here) this is where the Irish-Iberian link's use of chartered-in ropax Connemara has contributed. The next scheduled departure from Cork is this Friday.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews- Cork-Roscoff route was the strongest performing Brittany Ferries service of the French company's network, linking the UK, France and Spain, however concerns over Brexit loom on the horizon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Figures released by Brittany Ferries for passenger and freight figures covering quarter-three period (July-Sept) 2018 show an encouraging season. During the 3-month period, passengers figures on the Ireland-France route for 2017 was 44,744 and this compared to this year with 48,700 (an increase of 9 per cent).

The rise in passengers is reflected through the introduction in May of additional capacity following the debut of the chartered-ropax, Connemara on the Ireland-France route but also on the new first ever 'direct' Ireland-Spain link between Cork and Santander.

On the UK, Spain and Ireland routes, there were 127,434 passengers in 2017 and for this season the figure reached 142,108 a rise of 12% on these long-haul routes, again due to the contribution of Connemara.

Overall passenger numbers on Brittany Ferries routes over the summer season were also up 2pc to 1,078,507 compared to the same period last year.

In terms of freight figures, Brittany Ferries have published an overall total for all routes (and likewise of passengers, it is for the same timeframe). Total freight carried in 2017 was 47,815 while for this season the number was marginally down at 45,649. A difference of -5 per cent. 

Brittany Ferries which uses three UK English Channel ports (Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth) is where 85 per cent of the ferry firm's passengers are UK holidaymakers visiting key regions in France and northern Spain.

In recent months, Brittany Ferries announced a total €450m investment in three new ships post-Brexit on UK-France-Spain services (firstly next year, LPG fuelled Honfleur followed by a pair of Stena E-Flexers), however they also raised an alarm. This is from a fall in demand for family holidays next summer, which Brittany Ferries has warned of serious consequences for international tourism and the regions it serves if a Brexit deal does not bring certainty and the free movement across borders enjoyed by customers today.

Roll back to more than four decades when the origins of Brittany Ferries arose from Breton farmers wanting to export vegatables to new markets in the UK, which would lead to the formation of the largest ferry operator currently on the English Channel. The company, Bretagne-Angleterre-Irlande (B.A.I) otherwise as we know as Brittany Ferries was founded by Alexis Gourvennec who strove to enrich Brittany for the benefit of its citizens.

Since Brittany Ferries first sailing took place in 2 February 1973, the day after the UK (along with Ireland and Denmark) joined the European Economic Community (forerunner to the EU), the French operator has grown into a multi-national operation whose biggest export region is British tourists.

The launch earlier this year of the new Ireland-Spain service has opened up opportunities not just for tourists but also freight-hauliers. In addition to increasing cultural Celtic connections with the Iberian peninsula.

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Brittany Ferries resumed seasonal Cork-Roscoff service this Easter Bank Holiday, the sailings also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 41,700 gross tonnage flagship, Pont-Aven launched the Ireland-France season having arrived in Roscoff yesterday morning. The 14 hours crossing marked the completion of the first round trip of the season that began on Friday night.

The 2,400 passenger/650 car capacity cruiseferry operates on what continues to be the shortest fastest route to France which has proved popular with Irish holiday-makers.

In 2017, Brittany Ferries carried more than 87,000 passengers, which was an increase of 4% on the previous season and contributing to the national economy. While France continues to be a popular travel destination for Irish travellers, the number of French people visiting Ireland showed no signs of waning as nearly 45,000 availed of the route, representing 52% of all passengers carried.

The service which asides providing a convenient direct route to the continent has also developed strong cultural ties between Ireland and France. This year sees the launch by Brittany Ferries économie no-frills Mondays sailings from Cork (from 30 April) in tandem to the flagship's routine Saturday service.

Brittany Ferries as previously reported are to launch the first ever direct Ireland-Spain route, Cork-Santander service starting on 2 May. A chartered in ropax, Connemara will operate the Bay of Biscay route and based on an économie no-frills service.

Rolling back the years and prior to the launch of the Cork-Roscoff route in May, 1978, a special promotional visit to Cork City centre quays took place on St. Patrick's Day. This involved the arrival of the 5,372 tonnes flagship Armorique.

The sleek profile of this 1972 French built ferry, the former Terje Vigen, was acquired three years later by the operator and renamed Armorique. The ship named after the Armorique Natural Park stretches from the Altantic Ocean to inland countryside. As for the ships' stylish lines combined with the French novely factor drew large crowds of curious Corkonians along the South Custom Quay, opposite Cork City Hall. On board were representatives from Brittany that travelled over and took part in the annual festival parade. 

In addition a fleetmate, albeit even smaller, Penn-Ar-Bed made a special trip too that month to Cork and again to the same quay. The maiden commercial voyage was performed by Armorique on 27 May and proved an instant success with holidaymakers and freight. The venture paid off and had defied the critics at the time as to its viability.

The Armorique with a 700 passenger capacity and space for 170 vehicle decks, carried the vast majority of traffic as the end of season sailings were operated by Penn-Ar-Bed. This custom-built ferry of a mere 2,981 tonnes could only handle 420 passengers and 160 cars.

At the end of the first season, the Breton based operator announced that carryings were so encouraging and that they would in 1979 charter a freight-only ferry, Normandia. This allowed all freight to be carried separately and free-up space for passengers and holiday-based motorists on Armorique.

Services then used the former ferryport terminal in Cork at Tivoli downriver of the city, before operations transferred to the current Ringaskiddy Terminal in lower Cork Harbour. In the four decades of the Roscoff service, there have been 14 ferries, some appearing under different names. Also the role of three freight ro-ro ships operating the route.

Some ships it should be added made a once-off call to Cork (see Duc de Normandie) due to providing relief cover for routine ships going for dry-dock. This ferry for example had been deployed from the operators France-UK network which includes direct UK-Spain services.

The network in 1978 comprised of 5 routes, this included the launch of a new direct UK-Spain route, Plymouth-Santander. Over the past four decades the network has expanded to more than double the number of routes linking the four nations. 

Published in Ferry

#ferrynews - Cruiseferry Pont-Aven has made its final Ireland-France voyage of the year, marking the end of the Brittany Ferries 2017 sailing season.

Building on the success of 2016 when numbers were up by 3%, 2017 showed a further 4% increase on the number of people travelling on the Cork-Roscoff route. The cruise-ferry operator carried more than 87,000 passengers in the year and ended the season strongly with 4,100 passengers and 1,157 cars on the last two sailings of the season.

While France continues to be a popular travel destination for Irish travellers, equally the number of French people visiting Ireland with Brittany Ferries show no signs of waning as the number of French passengers travelling with the cruise-ferry operator continued to grow. 2017 saw nearly 45,000 French passengers avail of the route, representing 52% of all passengers carried on the Cork-Roscoff crossings.

Commenting on the 2017 season, General Manager Hugh Bruton said, "2017 was another successful season for Brittany Ferries. We have experienced strong passenger growth over the last few years and we are delighted to report that this trend has continued again this year. France has so much to offer holidaymakers, from family fun, to those searching for adventure activities, to golfing getaways. We’re also delighted to see that our French passenger numbers remain strong, as Brittany Ferries continues to make a valuable contribution to the Irish economy. We look forward to building on the success of 2017 and welcoming new and returning passengers in 2018, in what will be the 40th anniversary of our Cork-Roscoff route.”

Earlier this year, Afloat reported on Brittany Ferries £175m order of a new LNG-powered ferry,Honfleur to operate the Portsmouth-Caen route. Due to be delivered in 2019, she will come with an innovative fuel delivery and storage system to help navigate a way around the absence of LNG storage in ports.

Although the 2017 season has concluded, holidaymakers planning their next escape can book now for 2018 and avail of a 15% early booking discount. Passengers will also have the added benefit of being able to secure their preferred travel dates and accommodation.

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. Afloat adds that the first outbound sailing from Cork to Roscoff resumes on 31st March.

Passengers can enjoy an authentic French on board experience, 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

#ferrydisruption - Today's Brittany Ferries sailing from Cork to Roscoff is among routes that have seen crossings cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions arising from Storm Brian.

The company is currently contacting all passengers to offer assistance due to the cancelled scheduled sailing this afternoon.

Last night's inward bound sailing to Cork from France had too been cancelled. As a result cruiseferry Pont-Aven was forced to vacate the single berth at the Breton port. This was to faciliate another Brittany Ferries cruiseferry, Armorique that too has had to cancel sailings today to Plymouth in the UK.

The cancellation of Pont-Aven's round trip Irish route this weekend has led to cruiseferry having to take shelter further along the coast in the Baie de St. Brieuc.

For latest sailing updates on Cork-Roscoff route, click Brittany Ferries website here to include contact details (by scrolling down) beyond English Channel routes.

The seasonal operated Irish service ends this year with final sailings taking place from France on Friday, 3rd November and that from Ireland on Saturday, 4th November.

Other operators have also cancelled and delayed sailings between Ireland and the UK along with those serving between Ireland and France. 

For the latest information from Irish Ferries click here for Stena Line, click this link and for those from P&O Ferries.

 

Published in Ferry
Page 1 of 3

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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