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Displaying items by tag: Flagship PontAven

Pont-Aven Brittany Ferries impressive flagship at the weekend resumed its first Roscoff-Cork round-trip this season, in the 20th anniversary year since its introduction on the Ireland-France route and UK-France/Spain links, writes Jehan Ashmore.

During Pont-Aven’s return leg to France on Friday-Saturday, it was just a day short of its two-decade-old service date of March 24, 2004, which saw the 2,400 passenger, 650 car, and 85 lorry flagship also make its Irish debut the following month on the Ireland-France connection.

The 40,859 gross tonnage flagship with a Breton registry of Morlaix, was built by Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany for BAI S.A. (Bretagne-Angleterre-Irlande), trading as Brittany Ferries. Its introduction marked a significant chapter for the company, which has built up its brand and a strong relationship, including culturally with Ireland, for more than 45 years. This began with the Munster-Brittany link launched in 1978.

At the weekend, Pont-Aven’s return crossing from Cork was tracked off Land’s End, Cornwall, England, from where the flagship also made its debut in 2004 in neighbouring Devon on the Plymouth-Roscoff route and the Plymouth-Santander service.

The 10-deck flagship continues to be one of the most luxurious operating to mainland Europe, despite the introduction of Brittany Ferries new chartered tonnage from Stena RoRo’s E-Flexer class. They are spacious, modern, and have more environmental merit, yet they do not compensate for the level of cruise-ferry that Pont-Aven provides.

With a service speed of 23 knots, though capable of 27 knots, Pont-Aven has the capacity to keep to its intensive route network of connecting France-UK-Spain routes and the additional France-Ireland round trips.

Over the winter, a 3m 'duck tail' was added to the stern to improve operational efficiency and environmental benefits, which is expected to achieve a 10% reduction in fuel and save costs. Also on the matter of the environment is when in 2016 was installed 'scrubber’ sulphur emission reduction technology, which is welcomed, though considerably altered the external aesthetics of the original funnel that is shrouded in a cage-like structure, which is somewhat ungainly.

Overall, having said that, Pont-Aven presents a sleek profile to a ship with a pleasant-sounding name, which refers to the small Breton town made synonymous with artists, and this is reflected throughout the flagship’s interior décor - Afloat will have more about such features.

Since 2022, the flagship has been joined by the cruise ferry Armorique, which, coupled with extending the season, offers more sailings and choice to holidaymakers. Also, this season sees a first for Armorique to feature 18 pet-friendly cabins due to surging demand, as until now, dogs have had to remain in cars during the crossing, whereas Pont-Aven already has 28 pet-friendly cabins.

The route complements Brittany’s Rosslare-Cherbourg route and the longer link to Bilbao in northern Spain, for which Afloat consulted the company’s sailing schedules, sees its first ‘outbound’ sailing reinstated tomorrow, 27 March, operated by Santoña.

As for the first ‘inbound’ sailing, this departs Bilbao the following day, 28 March, and is to be served by Galicia. Up until then, the route across the Bay of Biscay was closed to enable port-related infrastructure works, which led to a temporary Ireland-Spain service retaining Rosslare as the Irish port but redirecting the route instead to Santander.

Both of these Ireland-Spain ferries are of the E-Flexer class, in which the company also has Salamanca and two more newbuilds to enter service, though on English Channel routes replacing ageing tonnage.

Published in Brittany Ferries

#PontAven10years – This day ten years ago Brittany Ferries flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven, was named in a ceremony, by her Breton owners in Roscoff, from where the luxury vessel sailed last night to Cork Harbour and returns to France this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Pont-Aven is named after an attractive small Breton town also known as the 'cité des peintres' as the location drew artists to sketch its picturesque scenery.

Among those drawn to paint scenes of Pont-Aven were Monet and the flagship celebrates the heritage of its namesake through of course it paintings, even boosting among its artwork collection a painting by Gaugin.

She was designed primarily for the UK-Spain market in which she made her maiden voyage from Plymouth to Santander on 24 March 2004, with crowds lining Plymouth harbour to cheer her off.

Further maiden voyages included her English Channel route from Plymouth to Roscoff which included a reception on 27 March. She made her 'Irish' maiden crossing to Cork's Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal arriving on 2 April. Later that month, on 26 April she was officially named in Roscoff.

A decade on and at 41,700 tonnes, the 184m Pont-Aven, remains an impressive vessel within Brittany Ferries modern fleet. She has a 2,400 passenger capacity and crew of 470 which service the luxurious facilities which can easily be described as cruiseferry standards.

Pont-Aven is unique to any cruiseferry serving Ireland as she features the Finistère indoor swimming pool offering sea-views on a high-deck and with an adjoining bar.

Also among her extensive amenities is Le Fastnet Piano Bar to reflect her Irish trading route connections with her season-only sailing schedule operating to a weekend round-trip from Roscoff to Cork.

Pont-Aven was custom-built for Britanny Ferries by Meyer Werft shipyward in Papenburg, Germany, to serve the UK-Spain market as well to the Breton-Cornwall link between Roscoff and Plymouth.

The western Engish Channel route was Brittany Ferries first route in 1973 with its origins stemming from exporting Breton vegetable produce to the UK market. Since then the company have dramatically expanded to offer gite, cottages, chalets holidays and more. 

The Irish service followed five years afterwards and the Roscoff-Cork route is currently the only ferry route from Munster and therefore the longest continous operating service since its inception in 1978.

In addition to the the Irish route, Pont-Aven is kept busy linking three other nations on an intensive schedule. In order to maintain the sailing roster, the 28 knot Pont-Aven can achieve this from an engine power of 50,400 kW and propulsion power of 43,200 kW.

Published in Brittany Ferries

#BrittanyFerries35th – Today Brittany Ferries celebrates launching into its 35th year in operating the Cork-Roscoff seasonal service served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Speaking about the upcoming 2013 season, General Manager of Brittany Ferries, Mr Hugh Bruton said: "This is always a busy time for us as we re-commence our service from Cork to Roscoff. We are delighted to report that the route is currently ahead by 12% on last year which is a great sign for The Gathering!

"It's also an exciting time for the business as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary globally and 35 years of sailing from Cork to Roscoff. Our continued service offers affordable, convenient holidays to France which is perfect for families of all ages".

Pont-Aven, is not just 'any' ferry as at 41,000 tonnes, she has an array of luxurious facilities to include a spa and swimming pool and an on board ambiance of French flair combined with a bilingual crew.

The flagship departs every Saturday from Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal until November 2013. She offers the shortest and fastest route between Ireland and France, taking 14 hours, several hours shorter than rivals running routes from Rosslare.

The origins of Brittany Ferries can be directly derived to Breton vegetable farmers who wanted to export their produce to markets in the UK following the closure of other west English Channel ferry routes more than forty years ago.

A co-operative of French farmers got to together to form Bretagne-Angleterre Irlande (B.A.I) otherwise as we know today as Brittany Ferries, which started a new service to Plymouth in 1973.

Brittany Ferries soon found demand not just from agricultural exports but in the reverse direction with passengers from the UK which really boosted the fortunes of the company. On foot of this success and within the next few years further routes were added to include its first route to Ireland opened in 1978.

Armorique, Quiberon, Bretagne and Val de Loire are not just nice-sounding names from locations in Brittany and beyond to conjure images and memories of travels past but these placenames were also given to name the ferries that served the route down through the decades.

The route has also brought closer ties through Irish-Gallic history and heritage but also Celtic cultural connections.

For more information on Brittany Ferries 2013 season schedule and more visit www.brittanyferries.ie

 

Published in Brittany Ferries

#FERRY TO FRANCE – Brittany Ferries flagship Cork-Roscoff route is underway, as the first sailing in 2012 of the seasonal-only operated service started last weekend and runs to early November. Serving on the 14 hour route which is the shortest sailing to France, is the luxurious flagship Pont-Aven, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 2,400 passenger /650 vehicle capacity Pont-Aven is unique to Irish services as she features a swimming pool. The indoor facility located on the top deck,  includes a leisure area and pool bar which is open during the summer season and on busy off-season crossings.

In addition there are restaurants, a piano bar, main lounge, café and shop facilities. She has a wide choice of cabin accommodation that includes 'Commodore' cabins complete with balconies. For details about sailing schedules click HERE.

Roscoff is set in picturesque surroundings on the north-west Breton coast and the ferryport is a short distance even by foot to the town which has restaurants facing the coast. There is a botanical garden and a century-old thalassotherapy that has seawater and seaweed treatments used for healing and relaxation therapies.

Published in Brittany Ferries

#FERRY NEWS- Established ferry operators on routes to France are gearing –up for market share with the first battle for 2012 targeting the Spring Easter period, with recent T.V. advert campaigns launched by Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Last week Irish Ferries reopened Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings by the cruiseferry Oscar Wilde (1987/31,914grt). The largest ever vessel to serve Irish Ferries French routes will also resume high-season sailings to Roscoff in May. For sailing times of both routes click HERE.

Brittany Ferries will embark their season with Cork-Roscoff sailings on 31st March with 'flagship' Pont-Aven (2004/41,748grt). This route operates a single weekend round-trip schedule, with arrivals and departures to Cork each Saturday, for more on sailings click HERE.

While Celtic Link Ferries, which entered the continental sector in 2005 having taken over from P&O (Irish Sea) introduced a new vessel on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route last October with the chartered ro-pax Celtic Horizon (2006/27,522grt) as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Unlike their rivals, Celtic Link Ferries are the only operator to maintain year-round sailings in this sector, for schedule click HERE.

Published in Ferry

Direct continental ferry services between Ireland and France will be reduced as of this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Brittany Ferries last sailing for this year on the Cork-Roscoff route ends today. The 11-hour route is normally served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven but this weekend's final round-trip will be operated by the Bretagne. The former flagship, built in 1989 had served on the Irish route for several years but now operates St.Malo-Portsmouth sailings. Cork-Roscoff sailings resume in 2011 with the first crossing from the Breton port on 1 April 2011 and the corresponding departure from Ireland on 2 April.

In the interim period, alternative routes to France are maintained by Irish Ferries and Celtic Link Ferries. On the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, operated by Irish Ferries, sailings are scheduled to run to 31 December but there will be no sailings throughout January 2011 and up to mid-February. This is to allow the routes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde to undergo annual dry-docking before re-opening the route on 16 February. In addition Irish Ferries operate the seasonal Rosslare-Roscoff route which starts on 13 May.

Celtic Link Ferries also operate on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. During January 2011, the company will be the only ferry operator providing services between Ireland and France.

At_sea_3

Celtic Link Ferries ro-pax Norman Voyager

The 17-hour route to Cherbourg is served by the 2008-built ro-pax Norman Voyager, the newest vessel on the continental routes. Norman Voyager accommodates 800 passengers, 200 cars and up to 120 freight vehicles. There are 110 cabins and facilities for passengers include a bar, restaurant, lounges, cinema and a shop.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Irish Fishing industry 

The Irish Commercial Fishing Industry employs around 11,000 people in fishing, processing and ancillary services such as sales and marketing. The industry is worth about €1.22 billion annually to the Irish economy. Irish fisheries products are exported all over the world as far as Africa, Japan and China.

FAQs

Over 16,000 people are employed directly or indirectly around the coast, working on over 2,000 registered fishing vessels, in over 160 seafood processing businesses and in 278 aquaculture production units, according to the State's sea fisheries development body Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).

All activities that are concerned with growing, catching, processing or transporting fish are part of the commercial fishing industry, the development of which is overseen by BIM. Recreational fishing, as in angling at sea or inland, is the responsibility of Inland Fisheries Ireland.

The Irish fishing industry is valued at 1.22 billion euro in gross domestic product (GDP), according to 2019 figures issued by BIM. Only 179 of Ireland's 2,000 vessels are over 18 metres in length. Where does Irish commercially caught fish come from? Irish fish and shellfish is caught or cultivated within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but Irish fishing grounds are part of the common EU "blue" pond. Commercial fishing is regulated under the terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983 and with ten-yearly reviews.

The total value of seafood landed into Irish ports was 424 million euro in 2019, according to BIM. High value landings identified in 2019 were haddock, hake, monkfish and megrim. Irish vessels also land into foreign ports, while non-Irish vessels land into Irish ports, principally Castletownbere, Co Cork, and Killybegs, Co Donegal.

There are a number of different methods for catching fish, with technological advances meaning skippers have detailed real time information at their disposal. Fisheries are classified as inshore, midwater, pelagic or deep water. Inshore targets species close to shore and in depths of up to 200 metres, and may include trawling and gillnetting and long-lining. Trawling is regarded as "active", while "passive" or less environmentally harmful fishing methods include use of gill nets, long lines, traps and pots. Pelagic fisheries focus on species which swim close to the surface and up to depths of 200 metres, including migratory mackerel, and tuna, and methods for catching include pair trawling, purse seining, trolling and longlining. Midwater fisheries target species at depths of around 200 metres, using trawling, longlining and jigging. Deepwater fisheries mainly use trawling for species which are found at depths of over 600 metres.

There are several segments for different catching methods in the registered Irish fleet – the largest segment being polyvalent or multi-purpose vessels using several types of gear which may be active and passive. The polyvalent segment ranges from small inshore vessels engaged in netting and potting to medium and larger vessels targeting whitefish, pelagic (herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting) species and bivalve molluscs. The refrigerated seawater (RSW) pelagic segment is engaged mainly in fishing for herring, mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting only. The beam trawling segment focuses on flatfish such as sole and plaice. The aquaculture segment is exclusively for managing, developing and servicing fish farming areas and can collect spat from wild mussel stocks.

The top 20 species landed by value in 2019 were mackerel (78 million euro); Dublin Bay prawn (59 million euro); horse mackerel (17 million euro); monkfish (17 million euro); brown crab (16 million euro); hake (11 million euro); blue whiting (10 million euro); megrim (10 million euro); haddock (9 million euro); tuna (7 million euro); scallop (6 million euro); whelk (5 million euro); whiting (4 million euro); sprat (3 million euro); herring (3 million euro); lobster (2 million euro); turbot (2 million euro); cod (2 million euro); boarfish (2 million euro).

Ireland has approximately 220 million acres of marine territory, rich in marine biodiversity. A marine biodiversity scheme under Ireland's operational programme, which is co-funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Government, aims to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the marine environment, including avoidance and reduction of unwanted catch.

EU fisheries ministers hold an annual pre-Christmas council in Brussels to decide on total allowable catches and quotas for the following year. This is based on advice from scientific bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In Ireland's case, the State's Marine Institute publishes an annual "stock book" which provides the most up to date stock status and scientific advice on over 60 fish stocks exploited by the Irish fleet. Total allowable catches are supplemented by various technical measures to control effort, such as the size of net mesh for various species.

The west Cork harbour of Castletownbere is Ireland's biggest whitefish port. Killybegs, Co Donegal is the most important port for pelagic (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) landings. Fish are also landed into Dingle, Co Kerry, Rossaveal, Co Galway, Howth, Co Dublin and Dunmore East, Co Waterford, Union Hall, Co Cork, Greencastle, Co Donegal, and Clogherhead, Co Louth. The busiest Northern Irish ports are Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel, Co Down.

Yes, EU quotas are allocated to other fleets within the Irish EEZ, and Ireland has long been a transhipment point for fish caught by the Spanish whitefish fleet in particular. Dingle, Co Kerry has seen an increase in foreign landings, as has Castletownbere. The west Cork port recorded foreign landings of 36 million euro or 48 per cent in 2019, and has long been nicknamed the "peseta" port, due to the presence of Spanish-owned transhipment plant, Eiranova, on Dinish island.

Most fish and shellfish caught or cultivated in Irish waters is for the export market, and this was hit hard from the early stages of this year's Covid-19 pandemic. The EU, Asia and Britain are the main export markets, while the middle Eastern market is also developing and the African market has seen a fall in value and volume, according to figures for 2019 issued by BIM.

Fish was once a penitential food, eaten for religious reasons every Friday. BIM has worked hard over several decades to develop its appeal. Ireland is not like Spain – our land is too good to transform us into a nation of fish eaters, but the obvious health benefits are seeing a growth in demand. Seafood retail sales rose by one per cent in 2019 to 300 million euro. Salmon and cod remain the most popular species, while BIM reports an increase in sales of haddock, trout and the pangasius or freshwater catfish which is cultivated primarily in Vietnam and Cambodia and imported by supermarkets here.

The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), initiated in 1983, pooled marine resources – with Ireland having some of the richest grounds and one of the largest sea areas at the time, but only receiving four per cent of allocated catch by a quota system. A system known as the "Hague Preferences" did recognise the need to safeguard the particular needs of regions where local populations are especially dependent on fisheries and related activities. The State's Sea Fisheries Protection Authority, based in Clonakilty, Co Cork, works with the Naval Service on administering the EU CFP. The Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Department of Transport regulate licensing and training requirements, while the Marine Survey Office is responsible for the implementation of all national and international legislation in relation to safety of shipping and the prevention of pollution.

Yes, a range of certificates of competency are required for skippers and crew. Training is the remit of BIM, which runs two national fisheries colleges at Greencastle, Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork. There have been calls for the colleges to be incorporated into the third-level structure of education, with qualifications recognised as such.

Safety is always an issue, in spite of technological improvements, as fishing is a hazardous occupation and climate change is having its impact on the severity of storms at sea. Fishing skippers and crews are required to hold a number of certificates of competency, including safety and navigation, and wearing of personal flotation devices is a legal requirement. Accidents come under the remit of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, and the Health and Safety Authority. The MCIB does not find fault or blame, but will make recommendations to the Minister for Transport to avoid a recurrence of incidents.

Fish are part of a marine ecosystem and an integral part of the marine food web. Changing climate is having a negative impact on the health of the oceans, and there have been more frequent reports of warmer water species being caught further and further north in Irish waters.

Brexit, Covid 19, EU policies and safety – Britain is a key market for Irish seafood, and 38 per cent of the Irish catch is taken from the waters around its coast. Ireland's top two species – mackerel and prawns - are 60 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, dependent on British waters. Also, there are serious fears within the Irish industry about the impact of EU vessels, should they be expelled from British waters, opting to focus even more efforts on Ireland's rich marine resource. Covid-19 has forced closure of international seafood markets, with high value fish sold to restaurants taking a large hit. A temporary tie-up support scheme for whitefish vessels introduced for the summer of 2020 was condemned by industry organisations as "designed to fail".

Sources: Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Marine Institute, Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, Department of Transport © Afloat 2020