On 6th June 2016 Brittany Ferries celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Portsmouth-Caen service. A lunch celebrating 40 years of ferry travel from Portsmouth, and 30 years of Brittany Ferries’ Caen route was held on 8th June aboard the Bretagne. In the last 40 years more than 90 million passengers have travelled through Portsmouth International Port, taking 25.5 million vehicles on 135,000 ferry crossings.
There’s now a modern steel and glass terminal which is one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the country, and five berths to handle the busy ferry schedule. The Port continues to be owned and operated by the City Council, which ploughs profits back into local services. £70 million pounds has been generated for the benefit of the people of Portsmouth since 1976. Alas the militant French Unions again caused chaos to travellers in May and their action included cancellations on the Portsmouth-Le Havre service.
Brittany Ferries hopes to order replacement tonnage for the 1989 built Bretagne and 1992 built Normandie during 2016, with delivery from 2020.
New Cross-Solent Tonnage
Wightlink Ferries has signed a contract to build a new ship for its Fishbourne to Portsmouth route. The new ferry will be the most environmentally friendly ever to cross the Solent, will cost over €30 million, and enter service in 2018. This investment is part of a £45million project to improve the route, with other work including new embarkation ramps at both Fishbourne and Portsmouth Gunwharf to permit double deck loading, an extension to the upper vehicle deck of current flagship St. Clare and a new terminal building at Portsmouth.
This investment follows the £70 million spent over the last 15 years on new ferries for the Yarmouth-Lymington and Ryde Pier Head-Portsmouth Harbour routes. The new, as yet un-named G-Class ferry will be slightly larger than the St. Clare plus will use hybrid battery technology, as well as conventional fuel, to reduce emissions and make the vessel quieter. The newbuild will have two fixed vehicle decks to accommodate the equivalent of 178 cars and space for more than 1,000 passengers on board with luxurious and comfortable seating and cafés. The experienced Cemre shipyard in Turkey has won the contract to carry out the work.
Meanwhile trials of Hovertravel’s new Southampton built 12000TD hovercraft Solent Flyer continued during May with the media preview scheduled for 27th June and naming in July. The sister craft Island Flyer was expected to begin trials from mid-June. Red Funnel’s new highspeed catamaran Red Jet 6 (built at East Cowes) took to the water on 25th May for completion and sea trials ahead of the planned naming ceremony on 4th July.
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