Some 5,000 ferry passengers are facing disruption over the next two weekends following confirmation that several Brittany Ferries’ sailings from Cork and the UK to France and Spain have been cancelled over the next two weekends.
The travel plans of around 1,500 passengers were disrupted last weekend when a fault on the company’s flagship cruise-ferry, the Pont-Aven, forced the cancellation of several sailings on the Cork to Roscoff route. Alternative sailing options were arranged.
But the company has now confirmed that the Pont-Aven, which has been out of service for repairs since May 17, will not be able to resume sailings until June 14.
The extended repair period has forced the cancellation of the Pont-Aven's sailings on the Cork to Roscoff route this Friday and Saturday, and the following weekend, June 7 and 8, as well as a number of sailings on the company’s Plymouth to Santander and Plymouth to Roscoff routes.
“The company’s technical teams have been working around the clock with the Damen shipyard in Brest to carry out repairs to the ship’s starboard-side steering gear,” a spokesperson said.
Despite these efforts it has now become apparent that this work will take longer than initially planned, whilst replacement parts are delivered and installed, and comprehensive checks are carried out.
The company’s CEO, Christophe Mathieu, apologised profusely for the latest delays and for the disruption it will cause to travel plans.
“It’s a frustrating situation, but our priority now is to contact all customers who will be affected by this situation and to make sure that we look after them as best as we can,” he said.
In a statement yesterday, the company said in an effort to give affected customers the best possible opportunity to arrange alternative sailings, some Cork to Santander rotations will be diverted to Cork to Roscoff, while additional sailings will be operated on the Plymouth to Roscoff route.
The company said its customer relations teams will be contacting all customers with bookings aboard Pont-Aven for travel between now and June 14 to outline the situation.
“Those who are due to sail soonest will be contacted first,” a spokesperson said.
“An alternative sailing will be offered where it is available, but if no suitable alternative is available then a full refund will be offered.
“Due to the exceptional number of phone calls involved, affected customers are kindly requested not to call, but to wait to be contacted by Brittany Ferries.”
The Pont-Aven is undergoing repairs to a hydraulic fault affecting one of its rudders.
But it also needs one of its four engines replaced. Fitting a replacement fourth engine will take several months in dry dock with the work scheduled for early 2020.