Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries
Type Private company
Industry Passenger transportation
Freight transportation
Genre Holidays
Founded 1973
Founder Alexis Gourvennec
Headquarters Roscoff, France
Area served
France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain
Key people
Jean-Marc Roué
Christophe Mathieu
Frédéric Pouget
Corinne Vintner
Revenue Increase €444.2 million (2018)
Total assets €444.2 million (2018)
Owner BAI Bretagne Angleterre Irlande S.A.
Number of employees
Decrease 2,787 (2018 average - high and low seasons)[1]

Brittany Ferries is the trading name of the French shipping company, BAI Bretagne Angleterre Irlande S.A. founded in 1973 by Alexis Gourvennec, that operates a fleet of ferries and cruiseferries between France and the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Spain, and between the United Kingdom and Spain.


Brittany Ferries logo until 1984
The ship MV Cap Finistère of Brittany Ferries entering the port of Santander.

BAI (Bretagne Angleterre Irlande) S.A. was founded by Alexis Gourvennec. Working with fellow Breton farmers, Gourvennec lobbied for improvements to Brittany's infrastructure, including better roads, telephone network, education and port access. By 1972 he had successfully secured funding and work to develop a deep-waterport at Roscoff. Gourvennec had no desire to run a ferry service, but existing operators showed little appetite for the opportunity.

The company itself began sailings on 2 January 1973 between Roscoff in Brittany and Plymouth in the South West of England, using the freight ferry Kerisnel a former Israeli tank carrier. The company's primary aim at that time was to exploit opportunities presented by the UK's entry into the Common Market (forerunner to the EU) in order to export directly to markets in the United Kingdom.

In 1974, Kerisnel was replaced by Penn-Ar-Bed, which carried both passengers and vehicles, and the BAI company adopted the name Brittany Ferries.[2]

In late 2009, the new Poole-Santander freight-only service was deemed a success and the frequency was doubled: there would now be two services a week operated by Cotentin. In November 2009, Armorique was laid up for the rest of the winter season. Major changes were announced in December 2009. Barfleur was withdrawn from service at the end of January 2010 after nearly 18 years service on the Poole-Cherbourg route. The service was temporarily served by Armorique, which came back to service earlier than originally planned. The Poole-Santander service reverted to one sailing a week with Cotentin covering freight on the Poole-Cherbourg service in the absence of Barfleur. Condor Vitesse continued to operate one round sailing a day in the summer months between the two ports. Cap Finistère ran between Portsmouth and Santander twice a week and also operated three round trips a week between Portsmouth and Cherbourg. In September 2010, Brittany Ferries announced plans to serve the Portsmouth–Bilbao route recently abandoned by P&O Ferries.[3] The route started on 27 March 2011.

On 21 September 2012, Brittany Ferries cancelled sailings indefinitely following two days of wildcat strikes caused by crew members who were unhappy with changes in working terms and conditions. Meetings took place between management and unions to negotiate the management proposals. A vote was taken on 30 September by union members to decide if the management proposals would be accepted. The crew members accepted the proposal and services resumed on 2 October after 12 days without services. During this period, Brittany Ferries made special arrangements with P&O Ferries and MyFerryLink to accept tickets on the Dover–Calais route. Unused tickets were refunded.[4] Services were not affected on the Poole–Cherbourg route which was being operated by Condor Ferries.

In 2018 Brittany Ferries commenced service between Cork, Ireland and Santander, Spain, this was cancelled and effectively replaced in February 2020 by the Rosslare-Bilbao service which runs twice weekly.[5] A seasonal service between Rosslare and Roscoff is also offered.[6]

From late March 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Ferries was forced to cancel all passenger sailings until the 15 May 2020 after government advice was issued against all travel.[7] Initially they had been offering refund vouchers valid for two years for affected customers. Many customers were unsatisfied with vouchers and had requested a refund. Brittany Ferries had begun to issue refunds in the last week of April for customers that wished for a refund. Customers were entitled to a refund under EU regulation 1177/2010 [8] however many travel companies have left people out of pocket, instead issuing vouchers which contravene this regulation.[9]

On 23 July 2020, Brittany Ferries announced the launch of a new Rosslare-Cherbourg service. On 19 August 2020, as a consequence of the on-going Covid crisis, the company confirmed it was reducing services from the end of August and laying up various ships starting with Armorique and Bretagne. Further schedule changes are likely in the months ahead, the company confirmed in March 2021. It also confirmed the launch of a five-year recover plan following the loss of more than half of its revenue, the consequence of restrictions on passenger traffic in all markets in which it operates. [10]

On 20 July 2021, Brittany Ferries announced at a Press Conference in Paris that it had secured a charter with Stena RoRo for 2 more E-Flexers. The new vessels are due to replace the MV Normandie on the Portsmouth-Caen route and MV Bretagne on the Portsmouth-St Malo Route. The charter is expected to run for 10 years with the option to purchase after 4 years. [11]



Ship Built Entered service Gross tonnage Length Beam Service speed Vessel type Port of registry Current status
Armorique 2009 2009 29,468 GT 168.30 m 26.8 m 25 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix In Service
Barfleur 1992 1992 20,133 GT 158.7 m 23.3 m 19.5 knots Cruise Ferry Cherbourg Laid Up in Caen
Bretagne 1989 1989 24,534 GT 152.80 m 26.0 m 21 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix Laid Up in Le Havre
Cap Finistère 2001 2010 32,728 GT 203.90 m 25.0 m 28 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix In Service
Connemara 2007 2018 27,414 GT 186.50 m 25.6 m 24 knots Économie Service Limassol In Service
Cotentin 2007 2007 22,252 GT 167.00m 26.80m 23 knots Freight Vessel Cherbourg In Service
Galicia 2020 2020 41,671 GT 214.50 m 27.8 m 22 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix In Service
MN Pelican 1999 2016 12,076 GT 155.5 m 22.7 m 20 knots Freight Vessel Marseille In Service
Mont St Michel 2002 2002 35,586 GT 173.95 m 28.5 m 22 knots Cruise Ferry Caen In Service
Normandie 1992 1992 27,451 GT 161.40 m 26.0 m 20.5 knots Cruise Ferry Caen In Service
Pont-Aven 2004 2004 40,859 GT 184.3 m 31.0 m 27 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix In Service

Past Fleet

Ship Built In service Tonnage Current status
Kerisnel 1972 1972 1,983 GT Scrapped after sinking.
Bénodet 1970 1983-1985 4,317 GT Scrapped in Turkey, 2021
Goelo 1967 1980-1982 5,149 GT Scrapped in Turkey, 2001
Penn-Ar-Bed 1974 1974 6,399 GT Scrapped in India, 2004
Armorique 1972 1976-1993 8,181 GT Sunk in The Java Sea, 2011
Cornouailles 1977 1977 6,918 GT Scrapped in Turkey, 2013
Reine Mathilde 1970 1978-1992 7,747 GT Scrapped in India, 2005
Breizh Izel 1970 1980 6,576 GT Scrapped in Turkey, 2014
Tregastel 1971 1985 8,696 GT Ever since 2011, with Baaboud Shipping as MS Noor
Coutances 1970 1985-2008 6,507 GT Sank in Puerto la Cruz, 2018
Purbeck 1978 1985 6,507 GT Sank in Puerto la Cruz, 2018
Quiberon 1975 1982-2002 11,813 GT Renamed D'Abundo and sent to Alang for scrapping
Duc de Normandie 1978 1986-2005 13,505 GT Scrapped in Aliaga in 2021 as the Damla
Duchesse Anne 1979 1988-1996 9,795 GT Since 1996, with Jadrolinija as MF Dubrovnik
Val de Loire 1986 1993-2006 31,564 GT Since 2006, with DFDS Seaways as MS King Seaways
Pont L'Abbe 1976 2006-2009 17,564 GT Since 2009, with Moby Lines as Moby Corse
Baie de Seine 2001 2015-2020 22,382 GT Returned to DFDS Seaways in March 2020 as MS Sirena Seaways
Kerry 2001 2019-2020 24,418 GT Returned to Stena Line in November 2020
Etretat 2008 2014-2021 26,904 GT Returned to Stena Line in April 2021, as 'Stena Livia'
Normandie Express 2000 2005-2021 6,581 GT Chartered to Condor Ferries in May 2021 as 'Condor Voyager'

Future Fleet

Ship Built Entered service Gross tonnage Length Beam Service speed Vessel type Port of registry Current status
Salamanca On order On order 42,400 GT 214.50 m 27.8 m 22 knots Cruise Ferry Unknown Due for delivery early 2022 [12]
Santoña On Order On order 42,400 GT 214.50 m 27.8 m 22 knots Cruise Ferry Unknown Due for delivery early 2023
Codename Normandie II On Order On order 38,000 GT 194.00 m 27.8 m 23 knots Cruise Ferry Caen Due for delivery late 2024 [13]
Codename Bretagne II On Order On order 38,000 GT 194.00 m 27.8 m 23 knots Cruise Ferry Morlaix Due for delivery late 2025 [14]




  1. ^ "Brittany Ferries Bilan Consolidé (Balance Sheet), including employee numbers" (PDF). Brittany Ferries Corporate.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Hoyle, B S; Pinder, David, eds. (1992). European Port Cities in Transition. London: Belhaven Press in association with the British Association for the Advancement of Science. p. 92. ISBN 9780470219263.
  3. ^ "Brittany Ferries saves Portsmouth-Bilbao route". Travel News UK. 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  4. ^ "Brittany Ferries services halted 'until further notice'". BBC News. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  5. ^ New Rosslare to Bilbao ferry service sets sail by Conor O'Kane, RTE News, February 28, 2020.
  6. ^ Brittany Ferries announces new services to Spain and France from Rosslare Irish Times, January 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Foreign Office advises against all travel 'indefinitely'". The Independent. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  8. ^ "My Ferry has been Delayed or Cancelled – Could I Be Entitled to Compensation?". NI Ferry Site. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  9. ^ "Coronavirus: Watchdog threatens legal action on holiday refunds". BBC News. 30 April 2020. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Brittany Ferries to cut passenger sailings". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Brittany Ferries announces order for two LNG-powered vessels".
  12. ^ "New vessels for Brittany Ferries UK-Spain routes".
  13. ^ "Brittany Ferries announces order for two LNG-powered vessels".
  14. ^ "Brittany Ferries announces order for two LNG-powered vessels".


  • Cowsill, Miles (1993). Brittany Ferries: From the Land to the Sea / De la Terre a la Mer (in English and French). Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire: Ferry Publications. ISBN 1871947170.
  • Cowsill, Miles (2007). Brittany Ferries: 1973–2007. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 1871947898.
  • Cowsill, Miles (2013). Brittany Ferries: 40 memorable years of service, hospitality and holidays. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608521.

External links