Around 2,000 passengers were left stranded in France today after the cancellation of a ferry sailing to Cork.
Brittany Ferries said its Pont Aven ferry had been cancelled after a routine inspection in Plymouth, England uncovered a damaged valve. Part of the ferry’s auxiliary engine compartment had been flooded as a result.
As well as the passengers in France, another 2,000 passengers in Cork will be unable to sail on the ferry service to Roscoff in France tomorrow.
The ferry has left Plymouth and is now being repaired in Brest, France.
Brittany Ferries general manager Hugh Bruton said it was the company’s first cancellation in 12 years.
“The ship cannot sail until this is sorted out for the safety of passengers. We genuinely understand their disappointment and their frustration because it’s in one of the busiest holiday periods.”
The €165m Port Aven ferry cut journey times to France from 14 hours to 11 hours when it was introduced to the Brittany Ferries fleet earlier this year. It can carry 2,400 passengers, 20 lorries and 650 cars at an average cruise speed of 27 knots.
Brittany Ferries said it was putting alternative travel arrangements in place for the stranded passengers.
Some will be brought on ferries to Britain and then on to France.
Brittany Ferries will offer full refunds to passengers who do not accept these arrangements and money to those who are seriously inconvenienced.
“Most people are opting for the alternative arrangements so they can continue their holiday,” Mr Bruton told RTÉ radio.
He said the ferry service would resume next week, when thousands of other ferry passengers on longer continental holidays will be looking to return from France.