Britanny Ferries has taken delivery of the Galicia, the first of three ships in the E-Flexer class of nine ordered by Stena RoRo from the Chinese shipyard CMI Jinling (Weihai).
The Galicia will be chartered by Brittany Ferries on a long-term basis and has been specially adapted to the wishes of the French ferry company.
In line with the company’s requirements, the basic model car deck on deck 7 has been converted to cabins, and the deckhouse has been extended on both decks 7 and 8, enabling the number of cabins to be increased from 175 to 343.
Galicia will be one of the largest ships ever to serve the company, and at 215 metres long she will be the longest.
The ferry is fitted with two closed-loop scrubbers, one for each main engine, and two extra lifeboats added due to the ferry’s increased passenger capacity.
The public spaces on decks 7 and 8 have been partially given over to other functions compared to the basic model, but largely follow the E-Flexer standard.
“The Galicia is special because she is the first in the E-Flexer series to be delivered to an external customer,” says Per Westling, CEO for Stena RoRo.
“The design has been adapted to Brittany Ferries’ special requirements and the yard has been able to deliver according to schedule despite the ongoing pandemic, which we are very happy about.”
“This is a significant milestone in our fleet renewal planning and we are delighted that we will shortly be welcoming Galicia to the Brittany Ferries family. The E-flexer class of ships are well suited to our long-haul routes. I am convinced that passengers will be as thrilled to travel on them as we are to take delivery of Galicia today”, says Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries.
On arrival Galicia will undergo a period of crew training and dry-docking for finishing touches, before welcoming first passengers on board as early as mid-December 2020.
According to Stena RoRo, the E-Flexer newbuilds are up to 30 per cent more energy efficient than existing vessels in the fleet, thanks to optimum design of the hulls, propellers, bulbs and rudders.
Stena RoRo has an agreement with Brittany Ferries for long-term charters of two more vessels in the Stena E-Flexer series.
Both will be powered by LNG, are under construction, and are scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The ships will supplement Brittany Ferries’ fleet operating between Portsmouth in the UK and Bilbao and Santander in Spain.
The new ferries will have a capacity of 3,100 lane metres and will accommodate up to 1,000 passengers.
The delivery is being announced at a time when Brittany Ferries is faced with a terrible summer season and weak demand outlook driven by quarantine restrictions by the UK government on passengers arriving from Spain and France.
Around 65,000 passengers have cancelled reservations since quarantine measures were announced. Furthermore, the company reports significantly weakened demand for services this autumn.
“We carried virtually no passenger traffic between the months of April and June, as the Covid-19 crisis hit,” said Brittany Ferries director general Christophe Mathieu.
“When we resumed, we had hoped to salvage 350,000 passengers from a summer season that would usually achieve more than double that number.
“The reality, however, is that we are unlikely to reach 200,000. Passenger traffic accounts for around 75 percent of our income, so our bottom line has been hit hard. It’s is why we must continue to take decisive action to reduce our costs to get us through the worst of this unprecedented crisis.”
The company has re-affirmed that its foundations are strong even in the fact of the worst crisis in its history. A robust five-year recovery plan is in place and the good news is that reservations for the 2021 season are strong.
Around 100,000 more passengers have reserved a holiday next year, compared with those booking during the same period in 2019, the company said.