Last Wednesday (Nov06) Brittany Ferries’ Connemara (see also CruiseMapper) has been welcomed to the shipping register of France, creating jobs for French seafarers and bringing to 11 the number of Brittany Ferries vessels sailing under the red, white and blue of the tricolore.
Connemara originally joined the fleet in May 2018, opening a new route between Cork and Santander – the first ever direct ferry route between Ireland and Spain. The chartered ship initially sailed under a European flag, but with a clear commitment that it would be transferred to the French register and crewed by French sailors after two years of operation.
This commitment has now been fulfilled six months early, allowing for the creation of 111 jobs for French crew-members, including 25 officers.
“We’re delighted and proud to raise the French flag aboard Connemara,” says Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu. “Despite the current uncertain economic and political waters we’re navigating Brittany Ferries continues its development, and reaffirms its long-term commitment to the French flag, and its position as the biggest employer of French seafarers.”
Following regulatory checks by maritime authorities in Spain, France and UK, Connemara will sail for the first time under the French flag on 13th November, operating a service from Santander in northern Spain to Portsmouth, UK. During December it will link Poole with Cherbourg, covering for fleet mate Barfleur which will undergo an extensive refit. Then in January 2020 Connemara will begin operating services between Portsmouth and Le Havre.
Connemara is at the vanguard of a wave of French-flag ships which will arrive over the next four years as part of a €550 fleet renewal programme. Honfleur will be delivered from the German FSG shipyard in 2020 and will serve the Portsmouth to Caen route. She will then be followed by three brand new ‘E-Flexer’ class ships to serve longhaul UK to Spain routes: Galicia in late 2020, Salamanca in 2022, and Santoña in 2023.
Source: Brittany Ferries