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Aiden

Cotentin

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instead of normandie doing portsmouth - le harve route why dont  Cotentin do it stenas charter for her runs out in late 2018 so why not her as im shore bf could do with another ship somewhere

 

Edited by Aiden
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I think he means Contentin replace Normandie.

It is a fair point well made by Aiden, and with expansion of cabin capacity 'a la' Amorique is  not beyond the realms of possibility.

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Why would you do that and spend money converting a ship when you have a larger ready made one waiting to go?

I'm not sure where Normandie would go otherwise anyway. 

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Lots of interesting issues here.

One is that the transfer to Le Havre is just about the only viable use for Normandie once displaced from Caen, and it beats sending her to a Turkish beach.

Another is that this shouldn't necessarily preclude the addition of a second ship to the route as, if it is a genuinely viable route for BF, then it should have at least day and night sailings in each direction.

This begs the question as to whether it is a genuinely viable route, or whether BF's presence at Le Havre is a placeholder to ensure the route doesn't fall into other hands.  If that is the case, then a depreciated-out ship that owes BF nothing but is still capable of providing them with good service is a good way to stake the placeholder.

Another is that, if there was to be a reclamation and conversion to passenger use of Cotentin, then Poole might be a more natural home for her.

And finally, as I think we have discussed a number of time before, Cotentin is not available for BF to just recall to the fleet.  My understanding is that she is providing Stena with good service and that Stena has an option to purchase her.  If this is exercised then the whole discussion is academic.

One thing that is certain is that Cotentin cannot just be put on a passenger route from the UK as she is currently configured.  By all account from some posters in the past, this is partly what did for her at Poole in the first place - she is a freighter, with shared accommodation facilities and would need a substantial rebuild to make her suitable for BF passenger operations.  With al the investment being made into Honfleur, the e-flexers, and possibly a replacement for Bretagne, I'd imagine conversion of a 14 year-old freighter that has been out of the fleet for 5 years and is earning the company good money in the charter market, is low down the list of priorities.

One final thought - precedent.  Can anybody think of a single example, throughout BF history, of a ship that has returned to the fleet after she has left it?  (Not counting former BF ships that entered service for BCIF when BF had an interest in that company).  I can't.

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10 hours ago, Aiden said:

instead of normandie doing portsmouth - le harve route why dont  Cotentin do it stenas charter for her runs out in late 2018 so why not her as im shore bf could do with another ship somewhere

 

The company are upgrading and expanding the route using a full on service and greater passenger capacity. Cotentin is going the other way.

If there's no news regarding a Pelican charter extension it may be a little more realistic to see her return to her home port of Poole. Her passenger spaces may be useful but also using her like for like on the current Bilbao service would give BF a minimum 20% uplift in terms of freight movements.

She has an accompanied freight capacity of around 120, if used in the same way as Pelican it's possible that the figure is closer to 130. 

In saying that Stena are in great need of freight capacity on the route she serves in the Baltic. It wouldn't surprise me to see her remain up north until larger tonnage based at Holyhead or Liverpool can be sent up there as a permanent solution.

I'm sure both BF and Stena are in constant communication regarding Cotentin, Visentini's and E-Flexers.

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7 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Lots of interesting issues here.

One is that the transfer to Le Havre is just about the only viable use for Normandie once displaced from Caen, and it beats sending her to a Turkish beach.

Another is that this shouldn't necessarily preclude the addition of a second ship to the route as, if it is a genuinely viable route for BF, then it should have at least day and night sailings in each direction.

This begs the question as to whether it is a genuinely viable route, or whether BF's presence at Le Havre is a placeholder to ensure the route doesn't fall into other hands.  If that is the case, then a depreciated-out ship that owes BF nothing but is still capable of providing them with good service is a good way to stake the placeholder.

Another is that, if there was to be a reclamation and conversion to passenger use of Cotentin, then Poole might be a more natural home for her.

And finally, as I think we have discussed a number of time before, Cotentin is not available for BF to just recall to the fleet.  My understanding is that she is providing Stena with good service and that Stena has an option to purchase her.  If this is exercised then the whole discussion is academic.

One thing that is certain is that Cotentin cannot just be put on a passenger route from the UK as she is currently configured.  By all account from some posters in the past, this is partly what did for her at Poole in the first place - she is a freighter, with shared accommodation facilities and would need a substantial rebuild to make her suitable for BF passenger operations.  With al the investment being made into Honfleur, the e-flexers, and possibly a replacement for Bretagne, I'd imagine conversion of a 14 year-old freighter that has been out of the fleet for 5 years and is earning the company good money in the charter market, is low down the list of priorities.

One final thought - precedent.  Can anybody think of a single example, throughout BF history, of a ship that has returned to the fleet after she has left it?  (Not counting former BF ships that entered service for BCIF when BF had an interest in that company).  I can't.

Does Barfy count after her brief stint with DFDS?

.

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2 minutes ago, jonno said:

Does Barfy count after her brief stint with DFDS?

.

Oh yes - how could I have forgotten Barfleur?  Daft of me, apologies.  She does, indeed, set the precedent. ☺️

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17 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Another is that this shouldn't necessarily preclude the addition of a second ship to the route as, if it is a genuinely viable route for BF, then it should have at least day and night sailings in each direction.

Totally agree P&O had 2 ships on the route and I think that LD lines did for most of the time (one of them morphing into the Etretat).

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Cotentin always did well to Spain. Why not take her back and have her doing 2 or even 3 return Spain trips a week, and bin Pelican?

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

 

Oh yes - how could I have forgotten Barfleur?  Daft of me, apologies.  She does, indeed, set the precedent. ☺️

Cornouailles after her sncf charter... 😊

I think Stena are in control of this relationship and can have Cotentin for as long as they want. BF aren't going to unilaterally reclaim their ship even if they were contractually able to.

That said Stena's use of the ship is a bit of a puzzler. She's popular (I travelled on her with them and the crew kept saying what a "special ship" she is). Her public spaces are of an excellent quality but those cabins... Someone made a terrible money saving decision in the past that remains utterly baffling. But she's not THAT big and with the route now a four ship service with three including Cotentin taking regular passengers (incl footies) she certainly could be replaced by something larger when it becomes available. Maybe her operating economics are really good but I doubt they can beat a Visentini.

All that said it's hard to see what BF could use her for right now. As a supplementary freighter somewhere maybe but BF passengers certainly wouldn't put up with the cabins. It's also not clear how expandable her superstructure is given the much larger vehicle decks compared to Armourique.

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57 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Cornouailles after her sncf charter... 😊

I did consider that one, but didn't she come back as Havelet for BCIF service after her spell at Newhaven?  Or was there a brief return to Plymouth in between?

Interesting comments about Cotentin and the Stena / BF relationship, and I agree it will be Stena calling all the shots.

I agree with the sentiments that the only logical role for Cotentin in the BF fleet in her current form would be as a replacement for Pelican on the Poole - Spain freight service.  Or maybe as a replacement for Connemara if BF decides to take the Cork-Santander route freight-only, but seems like that route is all up in the air at the moment while BF decides what to do about it.

Edit:  Checked my records; Cornouailles had a brief spell under that name on the Poole-Cherbourg route in Truckline colours after her spell in the mid-80s on Newhaven-Dieppe for SNCF.  That must have been either before or right at the very start of the BF / Truckline relationship.  But as far as I can see, she did not return to the BF fleet in BF livery.  Benodet took over as the main Roscoff ship when Cornouailles was released to SNCF, and remained on the route until replaced by, I think, Tregastel and then Quiberon.  As far as I know, Cornouailles never returned to Plymouth or to direct BF service after her SNCF charter.

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Is there any feedback on the loadings on Connemara - there are rumours that they are poor but it surely must be given a proper amount of time to evaluate the viability of a new route

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44 minutes ago, Gareth said:

As far as I know, Cornouailles never returned to Plymouth or to direct BF service after her SNCF charter.

She definitely operated on and off on mainline BF services after her return. She nearly sank off Cork in this period (some, unfairly. may have said that would have been no great loss). 

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14 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

She definitely operated on and off on mainline BF services after her return. She nearly sank off Cork in this period (some, unfairly. may have said that would have been no great loss). 

Don't want to labour the point, as it's not the topic of the thread.  But the Cork incident took place when in 1992 when she was in BCIF ownership and sailing under the name Havelet.  She was not a BF ship but had been sub-chartered back to BF for out-of-season cover.  So, yes, she did undertake charter service for BF but not in BF livery and not under the name Cornouailles.  Anyway, it doesn't matter.  I agree she did appear on the fringes of the fleet in various roles after Newhaven.  She was why I put the "not including BCIF" caveat in my original post.  I don't really count her as a precedent for returning to the fleet, as I don't think she really did, but Barfleur indeed is the clear exception.

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3 minutes ago, ollie@portsmouth said:

Cornuailles returned after Newhaven to launch the Truckline passenger service from Poole. I don't think she ever appeared in the 82-02 logo though. 

Exactly - she returned in Truckline livery (dark grey hull) and never wore BF colours again.

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Cotentin, if she returned would be better off doing Spanish freight runs from Portsmouth.  After March next year nobody knows at the moment what is going to be happening so post Brexit Britain what will the freight requirements be.  Maybe there will be more freight requirements from Portsmouth as people may well choose it over the tunnel and Dover.  Maybe BF putting on extra freight could happen, and Cotentin always did well out of her Spanish runs.

Regarding Barfleur -  we were all rather gobsmacked by her hasty return.  She is doing better now than she did before I believe, so it was a good decision to bring her ‘home’.  Would like to see Cotentin back at Poole, but she is best serving Pompey IMO.

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I wouldn't be too surprised if:

A/ Etretat replaces Pelican.

B/ Etretat replaces Cotentin which replaces Pelican.

I know her cabins have been configured for shared occupancy but does anyone have a clue as to why they are so unsuitable for the normal carriage of passengers? I would have assumed that having her in the Economie branding would've have been acceptable?

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4 minutes ago, wortley said:

Was Cotentin a bad buy in the first place?  A mistake? 

I don't think so, for me both she and Armorique appeared to be borne from the same ethos as Barfleur and Normandie-one with an emphasis on being a passenger carrier the other predominately for freight and being almost identical up to their public spaces.

Maybe if she'd been constructed with a slightly larger pax capacity she could have been utilised more within the fleet over the years?

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The other mystery is why, if (as several have posted) she was doing well on the Poole - Santander route, she was removed from it in the first place.  The charter terms to Stena must have been very favourable.

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34 minutes ago, jonno said:

I wouldn't be too surprised if:

A/ Etretat replaces Pelican.

B/ Etretat replaces Cotentin which replaces Pelican.

I know her cabins have been configured for shared occupancy but does anyone have a clue as to why they are so unsuitable for the normal carriage of passengers? I would have assumed that having her in the Economie branding would've have been acceptable?

At present Pelican has disappeared from the timetables from the end of March and Etretat still has the Le Havre route until July. 

Edited by David Williams

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

I wouldn't be too surprised if: 

A/ Etretat replaces Pelican. 

B/ Etretat replaces Cotentin which replaces Pelican. 

I know her cabins have been configured for shared occupancy but does anyone have a clue as to why they are so unsuitable for the normal carriage of passengers? I would have assumed that having her in the Economie branding would've have been acceptable? 

The cabins are fine, but finding someone has left dirt and hair in the shower and a nice smelly deposit in your shared bathroom isn't ideal and would certainly be eyebrow raising.

Edited by hhvferry
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