Brittany Ferries announced on 20th January that it has chartered a vessel to carry freight between Poole and Bilbao, in northern Spain. A pure RoRo ship, the 12,076gt/1999 built MN Pelican has the capacity for approximately 100 unaccompanied trailers and twelve drivers.
The ship was scheduled to make her first sailing from Bilbao on 11th February, arriving at Poole two days later (above). Last year Brittany Ferries reported a 20 per cent increase in freight carried across all of its routes and the Western Channel was the largest growth area for seagoing freight in 2015. This year has also started strongly and Brittany Ferries believes that greater capacity offered by the MN Pelican, particularly for unaccompanied trailers, will drive even more business through the port of Poole.
The MN Pelican is owned by shipping company Maritime Nantaise and will operate two round-trips per week. The charter, which includes French Officers and Philippine crew, is for twelve months, but with the option of extension. The 155.5m long ship is powered by a 15,600kW, 500 rpm Wartsila engine providing a speed of 14- 20 knots. The Poole-Bilbao service had previously been operated by the 22,308gt/2007 built Cotentin (now Stena Baltica) but closed in the autumn of 2013 when the ship went to Stena Ro-Ro.