Thousands face holiday chaos as Brittany Ferries flagship sailings cancelled

The holiday plans of thousands of people have been thrown into disarray after technical problems forced the cancellation of this weekend’s sailings of Brittany Ferries flagship Pont-Aven vessel between Cork and France.

Thousands face holiday chaos as Brittany Ferries flagship sailings cancelled

And plans announced two years ago to replace the vessel have been put on hold, it has emerged.

The French ferry and holiday company confirmed last night that the Pont-Aven’s scheduled sailing on Friday from Rosscoff to Cork, and its Saturday sailing from Cork to Rosscoff have both been cancelled.

They are among several Pont-Aven sailings between Ireland and England to France and Spain, which have been cancelled this week after the vessel developed propeller problems.

A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: “Brittany Ferries is endeavouring to contact all affected passengers as soon as possible with advice and available options.

“Passengers are being asked to be patient as there may be difficulty in contacting Brittany Ferries due to the volume of calls.”

The spokesperson encouraged passengers to check the company website for sailing updates.

“The company apologises to all passengers for the inconvenience this will cause to journeys,” she said.

The Pont-Aven, Brittany Ferries’ flagship vessel, entered service in 2004.

With a capacity to carry up to 2,400 passengers and 650 cars, it is the largest vessel in its cruise ferry fleet, plying routes between Ireland and England to ports in France and Spain, regularly serving Cork, Plymouth, Roscoff, and Santander.

It was sailing between Cork and France last weekend when it developed technical problems, and was towed into Brest.

A company spokesman described it as an “isolated technical problem” with the the ship’s propeller shaft. It has now been dry-docked in France for repairs.

It is expected to be back in service by May 26.

However, the company has also confirmed that plans announced in January 2014 to order a €270m gas-powered eco-friendly low-emissions 12-deck, 2,474-passenger vessel to replace Pont-Aven on the Cork to Roscoff route from spring 2017, have been put on hold.

However, Brittany Ferries said it was forced to suspend its plans for the new vessel as for financial reasons.

“As an alternative, Brittany Ferries recently completed a major €80m project to retrofit its six-strong ferry fleet, including the Pont-Aven, with exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers,” she said.

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