Gold Ribbon Banner
Monday, July 15, 2019

Cap FinistereReturning from their £multi-million exhaust reconfiguration to comply with emissions regulations, externally they may have changed only a little, but to my eye two of Brittany Ferries’ vessels have a new style about them.

Cap Finistere is perhaps the better looking of the two. She has taken up her Portsmouth-Bilbao/Santander service and seeing her here at Portsmouth I note for all the £millions spent it does not mean the exhaust plume seems any less visible.

Normandie on her Caen route is not improved in her appearance by the boxy looking funnel (a hint of HMS’s Ajax and Achilles of Battle of the River Plate fame…?), but overall she is still an elegant member of the Brittany Ferries family. Compared to some companies, Brittany Ferries’ designers excel. The chartered Baie de Seine, ex Sirena Seaways, has never looked better or sleeker than her innovative colour scheme of their Economie brand.

French chic is one thing, but French style labour and trade union behaviour rather another. It struck Brittany Ferries yet again in early May after several months of industrial quiet if not exactly peace. It is relevant to remind ourselves that Brittany Ferries commenced in business with the backing and involvement of the Breton farming community as a means of improving access for their produce to market in the UK and boosting rural tourism at home and with great success over the years. The company has grown to be one of France’s premier fleets with Britain its principal market.

So in May when Brittany Ferries’ Mont St Michel on the Caen (Ouistreham)-Portsmouth service was blockaded by dockers demanding a 5% pay hike and missed several sailings causing great upset to customers, passenger and freight, and looming losses for the company, something snapped. It must have so incensed the Chairman and some of the shareholders (several of them Breton farmers) that some twenty of them plus the Chairman undertook a Hornblower style cutting out action, boarded the ship and sailed it off to a friendlier harbour, Roscoff.

Baie de Seine Of course, the mythical British Nelsonian-like character undertook actions against the French, whereas this was Frenchmen against Frenchmen, or Bretons against Frenchmen, or perhaps Normans vs Bretons. Anyway, I guess a confrontation between furious Breton farmers and French dockers with a grievance is a hard contest to call. As was to be expected, the dockers were annoyed about the ’cutting out’ and are bringing up issues like safety legislation and state law: were the farmers trespassing , breaching port security without ‘id’, and was the ship safely manned when she sailed? But as I write the issue seems to have calmed down and thankfully all services are operating.

Given the cut-throat nature of competition between operators and ports, it seems hardly credible that there are still cohorts of workers or union representatives who think it is in their long term interest to treat customers like captives and hold companies, in a shaky fi nancial condition, to ransom. The ether is full of reports that once loyal Brittany Ferries customers have had enough of this treatment.

Another Brittany regular, Barfleur, has recommenced Poole-Cherbourg sailings with little visible sign of her emissions treatment. An MAIB report just out, refers to last July when she was entering Poole harbour and made contact with a chain of the ‘resting’ Sandbank chain ferry Bramble Bush Bay. The chain and its hydraulic drive had to be replaced while Barfleur received minimal damage. The MAIB found the ship’s speed over the ground when turning at very low water caused a predictable squat effect which drew the chain ferry toward the ship. The report recommended clearer instructions as to ship’s speed in the conditions and better communications on the bridge.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - July 2015 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Boudicca

Most Popular

  • Major Boost for Steamship Shieldhall +

  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

  • Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic" +

  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Clyde’s Vital Role in Onshore Windfarm +

    Clydeport Clydeport has played a vital role in the building of the UK’s largest onshore windfarm on Eaglesham Moor, just 20 Read More
  • Museum Says ‘it’ is the End of the Line for ‘Her’ +

    Scottish Maritime Museum The Scottish Maritime Museum, at Irvine, has abandon hundreds of years of maritime history and tradition and decided to stop Read More
  • Six LNG Carriers Join BP Fleet +

    BP Partnership Class Six new 173,400 cu m capacity LNG carriers have joined the fleet of BP Shipping, of London. Read More
  • Warehouse Boosts Import of Forest Products +

    Freight A new £17mn warehouse is to be built at Liverpool by the national logistics provider Jenkins which specialises in paper, Read More
  • Inmarsat Takeover Deal Agreed +

    Inmarsat Global Xpress The supplier of global satellite communication services to the shipping industry, Inmarsat, of London, has accepted a $3.4bn takeover bid Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Largest LNG Carrier Sails From West to East +

    Al Safliya The largest LNG tanker to use the Panama Canal since it was expanded less that three years ago passed through Read More
  • Oil Leak Survey of WWII British Tanker Wreck +

    Coimbra Wreck The US Coast Guard were evaluating a plan to remove oil from a tanker that was sunk in the Second Read More
  • Line Sells Long Beach Container Terminal +

    Long Beach Container Terminal The Hong Kong shipping group Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) is selling its Long Beach Container Terminal, California, to a Read More
  • Terminal to be Extended After Record Year +

    Viau Montreal The Viau container terminal at Montreal, Canada, is to be expanded so that it can handle 600,000 teu a year. Read More
  • Line Sails Back to Port in Partnership +

    ZIM Ningbo The Israeli shipping company Zim returned to the port of Seattle, Washington, on Apr 5 as part of the 2M Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Special Navigating System to be Fitted to VLCCs +

    AR Nav Following two-ship trials, augmented reality (AR) navigation systems are to be installed on 21 very large crude oil carriers (VLCCs) Read More
  • Work Starts on Hybrid Series +

    Grimaldi Hybrid In China, construction has started at the Jinling Shipyard on the first of the Grimaldi Group’s new hybrid roll-on, roll-off Read More
  • Tragedy of the “Stellar Daisy” +

    Stellar Daisy The very large ore carrier Stellar Daisy, 266,141dwt, was owned by Polaris Shipping, of Seoul, South Korea, and had been Read More
  • Line’s Special Offer to Help Clean Up the Seas +

    The Ocean Cleanup The Singapore shipping company APL is providing free shipping for the non-profit Ocean Cleanup organisation that is working to develop Read More
  • World’s Largest LNG Carrier is on the Way +

    DNV GL Model The World's largest LNG carrier, with a cargo capacity of 270,000 cu m, is being developed by the only builder Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Fourth Dreadnought Named HMS “King George VI” +

    Dreadnought Class UK News The fourth member of the new Dreadnought class of nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines will bear the name Read More
  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Russian Adventure +

    Ocean Adventurer To the North East Coast and arriving at Aberdeen for the first time for many months, I witnessed a passenger Read More
  • CalMac Heritage +

    Columba I include a fine poster and artist’s image of the famed Macbrayne paddler Columba. Read More
  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Pentland Ferries Loses Appeal +

    Hamnavoe Scotland’s Pentland Ferries has lost its appeal against Scottish government state aid for ferry services between the mainland and the Read More
  • Oscar Goes to Italy +

    Oscar Wilde Irish Continental Group has entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of its 1987-built Oscar Wilde to Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Norweigan National Day +

    Thorodd I was in Montrose on the Norwegian National Day, 17 May, when its independent constitution from Sweden was confirmed in Read More
  • Port of Aberdeen Fifty Years On +

    Aberdeen Harbour Extension Project When I first arrived in Aberdeen in 1968, I couldn’t believe my luck. Read More
  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • Everards Eulogy +

    Greenhithe Scottish maritime interests particularly may mourn the loss of Geo Gibson. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Lifeline Cash for “Waverley” Agreed +

    Waverley The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society (PSPS) has announced that it will provide immediate funding to support efforts to “Save The Read More
  • Viking Glory Celebrates Keel Laying +

    Front Altair The construction of Viking Glory is proceeding on schedule. Read More
  • The Majestic River Rhine +

    MS Charles Dickens In September of this year, my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful Riviera Travel river cruise on the majestic River Read More
  • What Next in the US-Iran Saga? +

    Front Altair Over the last year, the escalating trade war between the US and China has created many headlines, not least in Read More
  • Modus Expands Fleet of Hybrid Autonomous Vehicles +

    Saab Seaeye Modus has placed an order with Saab Seaeye for the next vehicle in its Hybrid Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAU V) Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Damen Group Superyachts +

    Amels With 25 projects underway, business is booming for Amels, the Dutch luxury yacht builder. Read More
  • Singer Andrea Bocelli Trades Up in Size +

    Stella del Nord Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor and song writer whose work spans both popular music and classical opera is a Read More
  • Plans for Greenock Terminal Approved +

    Greenock Ocean Terminal Plans have been approved for an iconic building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock to welcome cruise ship Read More
  • Leixoes Cruise Terminal, Gateway to Porto +

    Leixoes Cruise Terminal With the growth of the cruise industry, many ports worldwide have been active in developing or improving their port facilities. Read More
  • Two Distinctive Ships Headed for Chinese Market +

    Spectrum of the Seas and Costa Venezia The Spectrum of the Seas (169,379 GT), Royal Caribbean International’s first ship in the Quantum Ultra Class, embarked on the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Suez Canal

The Creation of the Suez Canal - Part Two

IAt the end of 1858, the company’s Works Committee convened for the first time. It included an impressive assembly of Read More
Mv Saint Brandan

Saint Brandan - "Vital Spark of the South Atlantic"

In 1876, James Gardner commissioned a small vessel to transport quarried stone from Ballachulish to Glasgow. He also opened an Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

Mercury

Tribute to the "Mercury"

In the summer of 1968, the training ship Mercury in the Hamble River closed down after many years of training Read More
SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
  • 1
  • 2