Freight News, Sea

Brittany acts to secure 2020 sailings

[ June 21, 2019   //   ]

Brittany Ferries is to charter an additional ship for a year ahead of the 2020 season to offer more flexibility on its routes between France, the UK, Spain and Ireland.

The Stena Ro-Ro vessel – which currently sails between Ancona and Trieste in Italy – will be the third Visentini-class vessel in the fleet, joining Etretat and Connemara in November.

The new charter will take over Brittany Ferries sailings from Cork to Santander, opened in May 2018 for an initial two-year trial and will extend the operating window for this service.

Connemara, which operates between Cork and Santander today, will be brought under the French-flag.

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.

Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu explained: “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.”

Brittany Ferries’ Pont-Aven returned to service on 14 May following repairs to fire damage suffered while en route from Plymouth to Santander on 29 April, but running on only three of her four engines at a reduced speed. As a result, Spanish sailings operate only from Plymouth and not Portsmouth. Fitting of a replacement fourth engine is scheduled for 2020.