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Baie de Seine to leave BF Fleet/ Stena Eflexer to replace

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4 minutes ago, Khaines said:

https://www.shippax.com/en/news/brittany-ferries-confirms-charter-of-chinese-built-e-flexer-from-stena.aspx

 

Not sure if there is any info on here not already covered by previous comments, but this appeared on my Facebook newsfeed this morning so thought I'd share anyway.  Apologies is nothing new on there!!

Full Article:

In a telephone interview with Shippax, Brittany Ferries has confirmed that they will charter the third ship in Stena’s E-Flexer series to be built at Avic Weihai in China.  "We have signed a five-year bareboat charter agreement with an option to extend the charter or purchase the ship," Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries' CEO, told Shippax. In Stena's typical 'can-do philosophy', the 927-passenger ship will be tailored to Brittany Ferries' needs and will get extra cabins, although the 3,100-lanemetre intake will be retained. "Stena was willing to make modifications in the accommodation and adapt the ship to our requirements," Mr Mathieu added. "The ship will get a typical Brittany Ferries touch but it is unknown who will be in charge of the interior design."

Although built as gas-ready, Brittany Ferries decided to install scrubbers on the newbuilding. The 212m by 27.8m ro-pax will replace the DFDS-owned BAIE DE SEINE, the charter of which expires in April 2019 with no option to have it prolonged.

Yard delivery of the Stena ro-pax is expected in early fall 2020, i.e. about 1.5 year after the BAIE DE SEINE will have been handed back to DFDS. As a stopgap solution, Brittany Ferries might replace BAIE DE SEINE by NORMANDIE or ETRETAT. The latter ship is already on charter from Stena RoRo whereas NORMANDIE will be replaced on the Ouistreham (Caen)-Portsmouth route by the new HONFLEUR, due to be delivered from Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft in June 2019.

BAIE DE SEINE currently serves both Le Havre and Spain from Portsmouth, but Christophe Mathieu told Shippax that the new Stena ferry will serve Spain from Portsmouth, although no decision has yet been taken whether this will be Santander or Bilbao.

Stena ordered four E-Flexer-Class ro-paxes in April 2016 with an option for another four vessels. All four ships were initially earmarked to operate from the Belfast hub but Stena has meanwhile reviewed its plans and will take over the chartered Belfast-Cairnryan ferries STENA SUPERFAST VII and VIII from the AS Tallink Grupp in December.

This week construction has officially started with the steel cutting for the first E-Flexer which should be delivered in 2019.

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3 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

I wonder if they will buy another one customised to a flagship standard to replace another BF ship.

I think it's been pretty exhaustively discussed on here that BF will not be replacing Barfleur any time soon! 😁

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

I think it's been pretty exhaustively discussed on here that BF will not be replacing Barfleur any time soon! 😁

I hope the Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) take note of this, that a Honfleur or E-Flexer won't be turning up at Poole anytime soon, or indeed at anytime.  As I've suggested before PHC have tried to see themselves as working in close partnership with BF because that's what they've said but I don't believe they've got much out of it.  It seems to me the ferry company has derived much more benefit from it than the port.  I recently received a BF brochure through the post promoting short breaks.  A "Gourmet Cruise to Ouistreham" is priced at £74pp while one to Cherbourg is £93pp.  I suppose this is for the HSC rather than from Poole in the conventional ferry.  One would have expected such a cruise from Poole to cost no more than from Portsmouth as it is a shorter crossing.

My guess is BF will drive Barfleur into the ground (!!) and then withdraw from the route.  Of course it shouldn't be supposed this would mean the end of Poole-Cherbourg.  BF are not the only ferry company in the world.  What they would then try to do would be to take on whoever takes their place seeking to offer a competitive, i.e. better, product on their other services.

 

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7 minutes ago, Hawser Trunnion said:

I hope the Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) take note of this, that a Honfleur or E-Flexer won't be turning up at Poole anytime soon, or indeed at anytime.  As I've suggested before PHC have tried to see themselves as working in close partnership with BF because that's what they've said but I don't believe they've got much out of it.  It seems to me the ferry company has derived much more benefit from it than the port.  I recently received a BF brochure through the post promoting short breaks.  A "Gourmet Cruise to Ouistreham" is priced at £74pp while one to Cherbourg is £93pp.  I suppose this is for the HSC rather than from Poole in the conventional ferry.  One would have expected such a cruise from Poole to cost no more than from Portsmouth as it is a shorter crossing.

My guess is BF will drive Barfleur into the ground (!!) and then withdraw from the route.  Of course it shouldn't be supposed this would mean the end of Poole-Cherbourg.  BF are not the only ferry company in the world.  What they would then try to do would be to take on whoever takes their place seeking to offer a competitive, i.e. better, product on their other services.

 

What has this got to do with this thread, Honfleur or E-Flexer won't be turning up in Plymouth either, should ABP be panicking as well?

 

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18 minutes ago, Solo said:

What has this got to do with this thread, Honfleur or E-Flexer won't be turning up in Plymouth either, should ABP be panicking as well?

 

I should have thought it had a lot to do with this thread since broadly the topic is essentially new ships.  If BF are going to replace BdS with an E-Flexer could they not replace another unit of the fleet with an E-Flexer?  It does rather seem as if Stena will have E-Flexers to spare assuming they build eight of them!  However we're talking some years in the future and things could be different then.  Already the deployment of the E-Flexers seems to have changed from that which was originally announced and the first four won't be based on a Belfast hub and indeed BF will be getting one of them apparently.  There may yet be more changes to come which may affect BF's plans in the medium to long term.

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On 25/08/2017 at 09:00, Andy said:

Full Article:

As a stopgap solution, Brittany Ferries might replace BAIE DE SEINE by NORMANDIE or ETRETAT. The latter ship is already on charter from Stena RoRo whereas NORMANDIE will be replaced on the Ouistreham (Caen)-Portsmouth route by the new HONFLEUR, due to be delivered from Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft in June 2019.

I know that Normandie has been earmarked to operate on the Le Havre route, but surely it would also be a better stopgap solution on the Spanish routes. Not ideal for sure, but with a better passenger offering than Etretat.

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16 minutes ago, LD said:

I know that Normandie has been earmarked to operate on the Le Havre route, but surely it would also be a better stopgap solution on the Spanish routes. Not ideal for sure, but with a better passenger offering than Etretat.

My view is that both of them are so unsuitable for Spain they'd be better off not bothering and not running the sailings.  However, given that I think Baie de Seine's primary role to Spain is to carry freight, they would want to run Etretat as the stop-gap as she has a greater freight capacity (and is cheaper to run).  Could well be that they run Etretat in freight-only mode and choose not to offer her sailings to the travelling public?

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3 hours ago, Gareth said:

My view is that both of them are so unsuitable for Spain they'd be better off not bothering and not running the sailings.  However, given that I think Baie de Seine's primary role to Spain is to carry freight, they would want to run Etretat as the stop-gap as she has a greater freight capacity (and is cheaper to run).  Could well be that they run Etretat in freight-only mode and choose not to offer her sailings to the travelling public?

Don't forget LD Lines ran their Biscay services, including Poole-Santander/Gijon, with Visentinis.  People who went on Norman Asturias from Poole to Spain and back thought it was OK and I would guess much will turn on what Balearia plan to do.  It seems very likely they are going to revive LD's Gijon-Montoir connection -- and then what else?  One needs to remember their LNG Visentinis are due in service next year, maybe as much as twelve months before Honfleur is delivered and the same time before Baie de Seine is returned to her owners to be replaced eventually by the third of the four E-Flexers currently building in China.  In fact Honfleur is two years in the future from the present and the E-Flexer as much as three years.  It seems as if there is ample scope for BF's plans to have to change.

Edited by Hawser Trunnion
Correcting!

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Ok, revise slightly what I said.  Both of them are so unsuitable for a BF-calibre Spanish service.  Don't forget, BF itself took the decision to remove Etretat from the Spanish service to minimise the damage she can do to their reputation.  I would be very surprised to see Etretat back on a BF route to Spain in a passenger-carrying mode.

 

 

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On 25/08/2017 at 19:24, Solo said:

What has this got to do with this thread, Honfleur or E-Flexer won't be turning up in Plymouth either, should ABP be panicking as well?

 

My guess is BF will drive Barfleur into the ground (!!) and then withdraw from the route.  Of course it shouldn't be supposed this would mean the end of Poole-Cherbourg.  BF are not the only ferry company in the world.  What they would then try to do would be to take on whoever takes their place seeking to offer a competitive, i.e. better, product on their other services.

Basically an excuse for HT to say that BF are pulling out of Poole sometime in the near future.

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5 hours ago, Khaines said:

My guess is BF will drive Barfleur into the ground (!!) and then withdraw from the route.  Of course it shouldn't be supposed this would mean the end of Poole-Cherbourg.  BF are not the only ferry company in the world.  What they would then try to do would be to take on whoever takes their place seeking to offer a competitive, i.e. better, product on their other services.

Basically an excuse for HT to say that BF are pulling out of Poole sometime in the near future.

Not so!  The critical moment in time seems to be June 2019 when Honfleur is delivered, BDS leaves the fleet and MN Pelican may leave the fleet as well -- and what happens then?  The first E-Flexer won't be delivered until 2019 and the further three are due in service in 2020.  It now seems just the first two are wanted by Stena themselves for Irish Sea use.  It had been thought BF would be chartering the first of the second tranche of four E-Flexers but now it seems they are getting the third of the first four.

I think Balearia's plans whatever they are may be of more significance.  They do have a policy of internationalisation but at the moment all that can be said is that there is a possibility they may try to revive LD Lines' Gijon-Montoir service and that they have two standard Visentini ropaxes on order for delivery next year and able to burn LNG.  I'd venture to suggest this is rather a surprising move on Balearia's part since most observers of the scene thought the series had ended with Epsilon in 2011 but the explanation is that Balearia want them as soon as possible!

How BF's future plans will be affected, if at all, by any further developments like these  beyond their control remains to be seen.

Edited by Hawser Trunnion

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Still plenty of time to go before HONFLEUR or the E-Flexer turn up, and plenty of time for market conditions to change as well (as well as timetables and vessel rosters to change)!  It will be interesting to see just how different the Brittany Ferries example of the E-Flexer is compared to the examples Stena chose to retain and operate themselves.  At present it looks most likely that 1 & 2 will replace the Visentini's on the Belfast to Birkenhead route which are running at capacity despite a 3rd ship taking unaccompanied traffic.  Growth on the diagonal and central corridor Irish Sea routes is continuing as well, with Seatruck reporting record carryings this year from Warrenpoint for example (in addition to Stena breaking their own records from Belfast).  Brittany Ferries have got themselves a vessel with a lot of vehicle capacity (3100lm and it looks as though there is an additional car deck), plus over 900 passengers.  The Stena examples have been said to have 175 cabins, so if BF have specified more its fair to say they intend to carry a lot of passenger traffic.  Being able to shift that volume of freight along with the passengers could be very handy indeed for BF.

BF have already publicly said they will move NORMANDIE to the Le Havre service, but with no mention of putting her on to Spain.  With regard to ETRETAT, Stena themselves have already shown what can be done with a Visentini in the right hands with STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY, which although they are no cruise ferries, are a lot more pleasant than they were in standard Visentini spec.  If Stena RoRo allow it, theres no reason ETRETAT couldn't be made more suitable.  At the end of the day BAIE DE SEINE is just a series built RoPax as well.  There is going to need to be some sort of fleet reshuffling in any case.

Shippax were a bit premature in saying construction of the E-Flexer's had started by the way, the first steel was only cut yesterday 26.08.17!

Edited by tarbyonline

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Indeed, there's plenty of opportunity for the plans to change, whatever they might be at the moment.  I'd be very surprised to see BF investing in a major refurbishment of Etretat though.  I guess the owners might, but not BF.  (If they were going to I'd have thought they'd have done it by now).

(By the way, great to see you posting more regularly on the BFE forums tarby.  Have to confess I don't look into the Dover forum very much these days.  But I have enjoyed some of the discussions you and I have had over there, particularly about the mystery of FE7 which has all gone quiet but still of interest to me.)

Edited by Gareth

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My gut, for what it's worth, tells me BF may look to replace both Etretat & Pelican with either Lagan or Mersey giving them a higher specced Economie passenger offer and greater freight capacity for Spain. Two birds, one stone. Both of the Liverpool based Visentini's also have wider ramp access up to deck 5 giving greater scope for loading.

We won't see another carrier offering an alternative to Spain... Balearia etc equals very large subsidy. BF equals expansion which, as is being discussed, is very much in the pipeline.

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12 hours ago, Gareth said:

Indeed, there's plenty of opportunity for the plans to change, whatever they might be at the moment.  I'd be very surprised to see BF investing in a major refurbishment of Etretat though.  I guess the owners might, but not BF.  (If they were going to I'd have thought they'd have done it by now).

(By the way, great to see you posting more regularly on the BFE forums tarby.  Have to confess I don't look into the Dover forum very much these days.  But I have enjoyed some of the discussions you and I have had over there, particularly about the mystery of FE7 which has all gone quiet but still of interest to me.)

I'm trying  to get back into the forums Gareth - I haven't been on DFE in a good while now actually.  I've been very busy with NI Ferry Site behind the scenes and have 2 pretty active Facebook groups as well.  The discussion certainly tends to be a little more considered - I suppose Facebook's strength in being easily accessible is also a weakness, particularly without strong moderation.  We are very lucky with the "Ferries!" and "NI Ferry (and shipping) Enthusiasts" groups though in that we have a great bunch of people who largely self moderate (and even call each other out on stuff) which helps the 3 of us who officially moderate considerably.  The FE7 thing has gone very quiet - I must see if I can make contact with a couple of people actually.  Its a shame a ship I (and a lot of others up here) were so fond of came to her end the way she did, even more so after what happened to her sister.  Anyway, I'm going way off topic (sorry everyone)!

I agree about it being unlikely BF will invest heavily in ETRETAT, but it may be an option.  My guess is they'll just juggle things around a bit and perhaps take something in on charter as a stop-gap.  Not much available for charter (or purchase for that matter) at present though, and what there is tends to be pricey due to supply and demand.  Things might be freed up a little with Balearia and others expecting a few deliveries in the next year or so (IIRC the LNG Visentini's are due mid 2018), though whether that actually releases any vessels remains to be seen of course!

Edited by tarbyonline

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9 minutes ago, jonno said:

My gut, for what it's worth, tells me BF may look to replace both Etretat & Pelican with either Lagan or Mersey giving them a higher specced Economie passenger offer and greater freight capacity for Spain. Two birds, one stone. Both of the Liverpool based Visentini's also have wider ramp access up to deck 5 giving greater scope for loading.

We won't see another carrier offering an alternative to Spain... Balearia etc equals very large subsidy. BF equals expansion which, as is being discussed, is very much in the pipeline.

You could be right, but i get the feeling STENA LAGAN and STENA MERSEY will be used to replace other tonnage in the Stena Line fleet, for example STENA HORIZON or SCOTTISH VIKING which are both chartered.  URD and STENA GOTHICA aren't getting any younger either.  But at the end of the day, Stena RoRo aren't averse to chartering out tonnage that may be of use to Stena Line, especially if the price is right.  Horizon would seem to be an obvious ship to "upgrade" though, even though Stena have made improvements to her despite being chartered.  

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Thought I'd resurrect this topic with a bit of news in Shippax which may see an extension to the charter of BDS.

DFDS have announced a 12 month charter extension of the Courage Class,  Grimaldi owned Regina Seaways, a vessel not too dissimilar to my 2nd favourite Spanish vessel.

She's currently sailing the route from Sweden to Lithuania - Karlshamn to Klaipeda, which has been one hotly tipped to receive the returning Baie de Seine once back in DFDS colours.

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Makes sense. That would a) awful if bf had to rely on etretat or nothing, and b) a huge hassle to drag in a new ship for just a year, with all the configuration changes needed.

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On 10/08/2018 at 16:23, Gareth said:

That explains why BDS remains in the BF schedules through next year!

FYI - While I am not 1000% sure (as usual) from what I have heard, it is still intended that BdS will return to DFDS this year, although I have not heard anything else since January... I am actually leaving the position I was in to be told this weird and wonderful fleet stuff on August 30th, so I'll try to get some more knowledge... I can't see that I won't still be able to find out afterwards though. 

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9 hours ago, Danish Ferry Person said:

so I'll try to get some more knowledge

I would be interested in what they will be doing with the Etretat from next July, is it just being returned (preferably with a flexible end date) or have they got other plans to beef up the Spanish route to replace Pelican,

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10 hours ago, Danish Ferry Person said:

FYI - While I am not 1000% sure (as usual) from what I have heard, it is still intended that BdS will return to DFDS this year, although I have not heard anything else since January... I am actually leaving the position I was in to be told this weird and wonderful fleet stuff on August 30th, so I'll try to get some more knowledge... I can't see that I won't still be able to find out afterwards though. 

I think I will trust Bfs knowledge over yours the fact that they are taking bookings for her up until November 2019 would suggest that a deal has been done so that she stays for another year.

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

I would be interested in what they will be doing with the Etretat from next July, is it just being returned (preferably with a flexible end date) or have they got other plans to beef up the Spanish route to replace Pelican,

I’m almost certain that the immediate plan for Etretat is not to commit her to anything.  So that she is still available for Le Havre in the event of Honfleur being delayed.  I would be surprised if BF was not limiting bookings on the Le Havre and Caen routes to those that could still be accommodated in the event of late delivery.  That would also explain why Honfleur is initially scheduled for Normandie’s roster rather than MSM’s.  Especially in light if the experience of IF with W B Yeats - it would not be prudent to commit Etretat elsewhere until Honfleur is actually in service.  Only then, in my view, will we find out what BF’s longer-term plans are for Etretat.  If, indeed, there are any.

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45 minutes ago, Gareth said:

That would also explain why Honfleur is initially scheduled for Normandie’s roster rather than MSM’s

There is also the issue of the pampered pooches which can be catered for on Honfleur and Normandie (from next year)

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