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Jim

Cotentin to replace barfleur in 2021

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Think any stupid decision, regarding Cotentin, was operating her from Poole and having her do Cherbourg.  As has been said here before, she was very successful with the Spain route.  Now, if they had kept her solely to Spain, or operated her from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, things might have worked out better the first time instead of giving Barfy the chop.  Could her Spanish rotations included more sailings if she had had a different timetable? 

Edited by Khaines

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2 hours ago, Khaines said:

Think any stupid decision, regarding Cotentin, was operating her from Poole and having her do Cherbourg.  As has been said here before, she was very successful with the Spain route.  Now, if they had kept her solely to Spain, or operated her from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, things might have worked out better the first time instead of giving Barfy the chop.  Could her Spanish rotations included more sailings if she had had a different timetable? 

As the Manche region put up quite a bit of cash for the Cotentin they wanted her running to Cherbourg.  When the building of the Cotentin was announced BF said she would operate Portsmouth-Cherbourg instead of from Poole but that changed before she was delivered, maybe it was negotiating tactic with PHC, maybe they realised they couldn't carry the range of hazardous cargo from Portsmouth as they could from Poole, who knows. The initial crossing time was 3 hours 45 minutes but that went back to 4 hours 15 minutes to save €€€.

I believe the success of the expanded Spanish services contributed quite significantly to the downturn in Poole-Cherbourg freight traffic. Before the Portsmouth-Spain services Barfleur and Coutances carried many Spain and Portugal bound HGV's who saw the short crossing time as an advantage so they could get back on the road a.s.a.p., now a lot of these take the direct routes and Poole-Cherbourg has gone from up to 4 sailings a day each way down to 1 (Brexit timetable not included). The weekend Cotentin sailing to Santander showed that there was significant demand for freight capacity to Spain, something which hadn't really been catered for by BF or P&O before as the Spanish services were really focused on passenger traffic, yes you could book freight on the sailings but they really wanted to use the vehicle deck space for cars.  Once BF saw the potential they went for the freight wholeheartedly with more freight orientated vessels like Cap Finistere which came with the added bonus of more passenger capacity while P&O stuck their head in the sand.  Even once Cotentin had started sailing full at weekends to Spain then P&O CEO Helen Deeble was telling staff that there was no freight market to Spain..... 🤦‍♂️

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17 minutes ago, Timmy said:

Even once Cotentin had started sailing full at weekends to Spain then P&O CEO Helen Deeble was telling staff that there was no freight market to Spain

I am still not convinced re the long term future of accompanied freight to Spain, it makes sense to extend the unaccompanied trailers (as per Poole Bilbao) and the container traffic, especially  as it will take longer to get clearance post Brexit. You won't be able to mix that with fast turnaround ropax ships. It will also lead to a trend to use the larger distribution companies who can employ drivers in multiple locations. I suspect that the BF mixed model has some problems ahead.

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14 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

one of the most stupid decisions BF ever made

You're right Chris it was a difficult one to predict. Her saving grace possibly is that she's a SOMANOR vessel, transferred to the rationalised singular society when the Le Havre route came into the fold. The three ports are their cross channel freight bread and butter so arguably there's a need for such a ship to augment these routes. Stena have never had a purchase option and during the initial couple of years it was touch and go whether they would take up the charter extension option. The charter swap for Etretat made sense, Stena didn't need her passenger numbers on the Baltic route but still wanted the freight lanes, BF wanted a bit of both and the Visentini is a good ship to start up a route... they're sparse yes but they're not uncomfortable, great sea keepers, (Epsilon proved just how good), economic and mostly very reliable.

BF did see the light quite quickly. Armorique was originally intended as an identical sister for SOMABRET which would have been a disaster, Breton freight figures are very poor compared particularly through their western most port, both Roscoff and St Malo are passenger routes first and foremost. The contract for her was very quickly changed to create a full RoPax design.

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

Armorique was originally intended as an identical sister

Thanks Jonno, I never knew that.  I knew she was modelled on the same hull design, but didn’t know Armorique was originally intended as a freighter.  Interesting, and explains quite a lot, even though I like Armorique and think she does what she does very well.  No reason why a Cotentin converted into a passenger ferry shouldn’t be equally successful.

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But with I believe, two full height freight decks, Cotentin would be very expensive to modify a la Armorique although something could be done no doubt, perhaps with a lower PAX capacity.

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Hope they don’t rename her (as is often the case when freighters are turned into passenger ships).  Mind you, re-naming a ship within the fleet is not unknown in BF history (Benodet becoming Corbiere and Prince of Brittany becoming Reine Mathilde).

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22 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks Jonno, I never knew that.  I knew she was modelled on the same hull design, but didn’t know Armorique was originally intended as a freighter.  Interesting, and explains quite a lot, even though I like Armorique and think she does what she does very well.  No reason why a Cotentin converted into a passenger ferry shouldn’t be equally successful.

Yes she was originally ordered as a freight ferry. I agree, her size and twin loading ability make her very versatile. I know I often bang on about how poor freight is on her route so at times she's wasted but overall it's a positive BF exploit in times of dock strikes elsewhere. Due to Armorique and the nature of the Plymouth-Roscoff route BF always have freight space available and the longer overnight service allows drivers a full rest negating the issue of a longer drive on arrival. A most attractive proposition for hauliers... BF never need to say no. 

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28 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Hope they don’t rename her (as is often the case when freighters are turned into passenger ships).  Mind you, re-naming a ship within the fleet is not unknown in BF history (Benodet becoming Corbiere and Prince of Brittany becoming Reine Mathilde).

Hope she keeps her name.  We all know her as Cotentin - Barfy got hers back, so hopefully Cotentin will as well.  It is what she is known as BF wise.  

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1 minute ago, Khaines said:

Hope she keeps her name.  We all know her as Cotentin - Barfy got hers back, so hopefully Cotentin will as well.  It is what she is known as BF wise.  

Assuming that she returns to Cherbourg, no other name would make sense. 

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5 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Assuming that she returns to Cherbourg, no other name would make sense. 

Unless they call her Barfleur 2! 🤭

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25 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

But with I believe, two full height freight decks, Cotentin would be very expensive to modify a la Armorique although something could be done no doubt, perhaps with a lower PAX capacity.

If they can rebuild her to match Armorique for £50m I think they'll do it. SOMANOR can use the charter fees they pay Stena for Etretat to offset any lending plus they'll probably increase their earnings at Le Havre with Normandie and use the money from Barfleur if they sell. BF already know what the design is capable of so they know they've got 2000 tonnes to play with in order for her to match her close sibling, you can have a lot of fun with that.

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No one is talking about the basics, the whole plumbing and electrical systems would have to be replaced.  You don't just add a load of cabins they all need services water and waste tanks etc would all need replacing above what was designed, would it be easy?

 

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

Yes, she could be called after any small town on the Cotentin peninsula

Having been around some lovely places on the Cotentin peninsula, there are loads of places that would make great names for ships.  

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1 hour ago, Solo said:

No one is talking about the basics, the whole plumbing and electrical systems would have to be replaced.  You don't just add a load of cabins they all need services water and waste tanks etc would all need replacing above what was designed, would it be easy?

 

No not easy but it's a blank canvas because what they have to play with is essentially fresh air, there's no superstructure to modify, the intricate plumbing and heating comes with the modular cabins and the cable gantries, conduit piping, plumbing etc is fitted above and below the block before it's added.. It's similar in design and practice to how FSG build their ferries, it's like Honfleur without the hull. Cotentin will be easier as she's hardly enclosed and these systems are designed to be replaced.

Consider lengthening, same principle, it's all there prior to being floated into place.

Cardboard compactor, waste shredder, glass chute/crusher, sewage, desalination et al is fitted into decks 1 & 2. We know the space is there, look at Armorique.

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4 hours ago, Gareth said:

I never knew that.  I knew she was modelled on the same hull design, but didn’t know Armorique was originally intended as a freighter.

The Armorique utilised the option for "a similar ship" that had been placed at the same time Cotentin was ordered. The order for Armorique (fully formed as a pax ship) was placed just 6 months after that for Cotentin so they will have known what they aimed to do when the option was placed.

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Slightly confused now - so was Armorique originally ordered as a freighter or a passenger ferry?  I had always understood the latter, but Jonno indicated it was the former.  Is what he described as her “intention” something that pre-dated the actual order?

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27 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Slightly confused now - so was Armorique originally ordered as a freighter or a passenger ferry?  I had always understood the latter, but Jonno indicated it was the former.  Is what he described as her “intention” something that pre-dated the actual order?

She was ordered as a passenger ship, the option just held a place in the yard's orderbook.

https://www.motorship.com/news101/industry-news/aker-and-brittany-ferries-sign-loi-for-ferry

 

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3 hours ago, jonno said:

No not easy but it's a blank canvas because what they have to play with is essentially fresh air, there's no superstructure to modify, the intricate plumbing and heating comes with the modular cabins and the cable gantries, conduit piping, plumbing etc is fitted above and below the block before it's added.. It's similar in design and practice to how FSG build their ferries, it's like Honfleur without the hull. Cotentin will be easier as she's hardly enclosed and these systems are designed to be replaced.

Consider lengthening, same principle, it's all there prior to being floated into place.

Cardboard compactor, waste shredder, glass chute/crusher, sewage, desalination et al is fitted into decks 1 & 2. We know the space is there, look at Armorique.

I didn't explain very well, I was thinking more about storage tanks etc down in the depths of the ship and the capacity of the electrical system, which would all have been built to handle a certain number of cabins and people on board.  As has been said it's all possible but it's not just a case of putting some cabins on top, it's a major job.

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Barfleur has 72 cabins. Cotentin has 120 cabins.

Why would Brittany Ferries want to add more, and take up a lot of space, on a shorter sea route which usually sails at day? And if it doesn't it still has more cabins than Barfleur.

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32 minutes ago, Solo said:

I didn't explain very well, I was thinking more about storage tanks etc down in the depths of the ship and the capacity of the electrical system, which would all have been built to handle a certain number of cabins and people on board.  As has been said it's all possible but it's not just a case of putting some cabins on top, it's a major job.

I think we all agree that to modify Cotentin is a major job and will be expensive but it will be less so than a new build and BF aren't venturing into unknown territory with a lot of head scratching around a drawing board as they did the same at an earlier stage to Armorique - she was essentially Cotentin at one point. The designers can draw from that. They already have the plans and basically know where to fit everything in order to create a ship capable of carrying as many as 1500 and having 248 cabins if they want to.

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I haven't read through the entire topic (apologies), but modifying for passenger service could be as little as reconfiguring the existing accommodation or even adding a small extension.  Its not necessarily a full scale rebuild.  I don't see Armorique II happening personally (if nothing else they'll want to preserve freight capacity surely?), though perhaps somewhere in between?  I guess it depends on where they see the future for the route in a couple of years time.

On 17/10/2019 at 12:37, Khaines said:

Soooooooo - my thoughts.  Well, seeing as I have in the past here said that Cotentin ought to return as I feel in the present climate regarding Brexit and freight, she should be recalled!

 

You assume she CAN be recalled prior to the end of her contract (which I assume must end in 2021?).

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38 minutes ago, Seashore said:

Barfleur has 72 cabins. Cotentin has 120 cabins.

Why would Brittany Ferries want to add more, and take up a lot of space, on a shorter sea route which usually sails at day? And if it doesn't it still has more cabins than Barfleur.

Why did they want to build a ship which carries less passengers and passenger vehicles for their busiest and most popular route, Honfleur?

Why do they want to use a 2000 pax ship and an 84 unit freight capacity, on a route which currently carries a maximum 370 passengers and 95 freight units and has increasing freight numbers?

Cotentin would be better used at Le Havre even as she is and Normandie better used at Poole reducing capacity to her berth numbers.

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7 minutes ago, tarbyonline said:

I haven't read through the entire topic (apologies), but modifying for passenger service could be as little as reconfiguring the existing accommodation or even adding a small extension.  Its not necessarily a full scale rebuild.  I don't see Armorique II happening personally (if nothing else they'll want to preserve freight capacity surely?), though perhaps somewhere in between?  I guess it depends on where they see the future for the route in a couple of years time.

You assume she CAN be recalled prior to the end of her contract (which I assume must end in 2021?).

I've wondered whether it'll be sooner with the Avic ships arriving at least one of the Mersey Visentini's could replace her after lengthening?

No I don't think it'll be a full scale Armorique, they'll not want to lose the 20 freight unit advantage Barfleur has over her but a build which reduces to Cotentin's capacity from 120 to around 80 isn't out of the question.

Edited by jonno

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