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Jack N

Newbuild for Biscay

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By chance I got talking to a member of Brittany Ferries staff whilst shopping in Santander last week. He seemed remarkably informed and somehow the conversation came around as to when the Pont Aven would be replaced.

To my surprise he told me that a replacement for Pont Aven was destined to be constructed in St Nazaire, coming into service during 2020!

Can anybody corroborate his claim or is it simply wishful thinking?

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Well, we know it's on BF's wish list.  But we are only talking a year after Honfleur, which BF first announced plans for about a year ago.  So I'm sure that if there were plans that imminent we'd have heard from BF to that effect.  

Maybe an announcement is pending.  Or maybe the Santander staff are seeing how quickly they can spread a rumour! :)

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STX in St Nazaire are supposed to be fully booked until 2026 with a series of cruise ships. I haven't heard that any of those has been postponed but maybe they have decided to switch one to the Italian yard given the recent investment news thereby freeing up yard space for a quick ferry project. Ed. 

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Well, quick in ship-building terms anyway. If they were to go back to the abandoned Pegasus design with a few updates then it might be possible to float her out relatively quickly. I was just wondering if part of this summer's government investment package included some guarantee of work from local customers to sweeten the deal. Ed

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I would suggest the aforementioned staff member has either had too much Sangria/Faustino 1/Esplendido  or is simply having a happy day in Santander after a particularly rough crossing......o.O

Chris

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9 hours ago, ARKWRIGHT said:

There is a vessel described as  ''3rd Stena E-Flexer'' currently on order. It is a cruise ferry and is scheduled for delivery in 2020.

On the BF webpage it says to be available for the 2019 “season” whatever that means!

 

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1 minute ago, JohnMustow said:

On the BF webpage it says to be available for the 2019 “season” whatever that means!

 

That’s referring to Honfleur, not a potential PA replacement.

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Normandie won’t be taking over at Le Havre until Honfleur has arrived.

The e-flexer refereed to in the above link is the one due to replace BDS.

I believe Arkwright is referring to a prospective additional one.  However, this does not fit with the speculation in the OP, as it will not be built at St Nazaire.

I suspect it is still a case of someone having their wires crossed.  It is inconceivable that BF will have an order placed at St Nazaire for 2020 delivery and for them not to have made an announcement about it.

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9 minutes ago, The Ferry Man said:

The Stena E-Flexer

Yes, the Stena e-flexer in time, but not immediately.  There will be a period of around a year to cover, I believe, between BDS going and the e-flexer arriving.  Realistically, the only option I can see for BF in this interim period (short of a short-term charter) is to move Etretat to BDS’ schedules once she has been released from Le Havre.

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Can;t remember the exact timings - is the BdS going before or after Honfleur/Normandie switch? If so, the Honfleur replaces the Normandie, which in turn replaces Etretat on Port-LH, to replace the BdS? Otherwise one route is going to lose out...

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Yes, I believe that will be the plan.  The third part of that is only my speculation, but it is the only option that makes sense.  The first two parts BF has already announced.

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2 minutes ago, The Ferry Man said:

Can;t remember the exact timings - is the BdS going before or after Honfleur/Normandie switch? If so, the Honfleur replaces the Normandie, which in turn replaces Etretat on Port-LH, to replace the BdS? Otherwise one route is going to lose out...

Honfleur arrives In summer 2019, Etretat largely becomes surplus to requirements but is still under charter from Stena. DFDS want their ship back early so BF will use Etretat back on her original Spanish sailings and replace BDS for the 12 months prior to the E-Flexer arriving whilst Normandie takes over at Le Havre.

Simple...

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To add fuel to this snowy Sunday speculation...

Pont Aven took less than 12 months from keel laying to being in service... It is feasible for BF to announce a laying down ceremony later this year, providing of course the yard has the space and BF's much coveted design team have finished on the E-Flexer in China and Honfleur in Germany. 3 at once in 3 different countries does seem to stretching things a little.

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One thing has become clear with the Connemara announcement: contrary to what some of us believed / hoped, BF has no plans in the immediate future to drop the Economie brand.

It is conceivable that, within the next 18 months or so, BF could be operating a "mixed economy" (of both Economie and cruise ship on the same route) on at least 4 different routes.  Portsmouth-Le Havre (assuming Etretat will continue to do a run to Le Havre for crew change), Portsmouth-Bilbao, Portsmouth-Santander and Cork-Roscoff.

I think this will be highly confusing to the consumer and will result in the identity of the BF product on those routes becoming really blurred.  I hope this is not the thin end of a wedge that, in time, will see Economie becoming the de facto norm.

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20 minutes ago, jonno said:

To add fuel to this snowy Sunday speculation...

Pont Aven took less than 12 months from keel laying to being in service... It is feasible for BF to announce a laying down ceremony later this year, providing of course the yard has the space and BF's much coveted design team have finished on the E-Flexer in China and Honfleur in Germany. 3 at once in 3 different countries does seem to stretching things a little.

Where would the finding come from though? One full NB (Honfleur) and two new charters (E-Flexer and Connemara), would there be any money left for another - even with the BdS being returned? I can;t see the e-Flexer being a cheap charter

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9 minutes ago, Gareth said:

It’s a charter with a purchase option, which would be likely to be taken if BF is happy with her.  So even more costly.

But less risk for BF, nothing to pay upfront but if they are happy can buy later.  As you said more expense but less risk.

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52 minutes ago, jonno said:

Honfleur arrives In summer 2019, Etretat largely becomes surplus to requirements but is still under charter from Stena. DFDS want their ship back early so BF will use Etretat back on her original Spanish sailings and replace BDS for the 12 months prior to the E-Flexer arriving whilst Normandie takes over at Le Havre.

Simple...

I thought DFDS were not prepared to extend the five year charter of BdS after it expires in early 2020.  But BF are still left with a gap before E-Flexer 3 arrives towards the end of 2020 which either Normandie or Etretat will have to fill as things currently stand -- but I suppose we could all be surprised!

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