Today French and Spanish ferry operator Brittany Ferries unveiled the latest addition to its fleet, Galicia. Due to the pandemic the debut event for the new ship took place virtually, in an online inauguration ceremony – a first for the company and the maritime sector.
The brand-new super-ferry, built at the CMJL shipyard in Weihai, China, is the first in a trio of sisterships – and represents a key milestone in Brittany Ferries’ fleet renewal programme. Galicia’s future sisterships Salamanca and Santoña will arrive in 2022 and 2023.
Galicia is an ‘E-Flexer’ class ferry. At 215 metres long she is the largest-ever Brittany Ferries ship and will carry over three kilometres of freight and passenger vehicles.
“Galicia’s arrival marks the start of a bright new future for Brittany Ferries,” says CEO Christophe Mathieu. “When we ordered her, we could never have imagined the current pandemic situation and its impact on trade, travel and tourism. But she is our symbol of hope and optimism, and above all our confidence in a much brighter future on the horizon,
“Our customers demand modern, comfortable and environmentally-friendly sea travel. We can only meet their expectations by introducing new, advanced and innovative ships. Galicia is a vital first step in our fleet renewal programme, and proof of our ongoing commitment to our customers, partners and colleagues in the years to come.”
Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ chairman added: “This has been a challenging year for our customers, and also for my colleagues across our business in France, the UK, Spain and Ireland,
“But this is a new start, and Galicia is a sign of hope for all of us. She will be followed by two beautiful sister ships: Salamanca in 2022 and Santoña in 2023. The entire project demonstrates our conviction and our ambition to continue serving our passengers, and our all-important freight clients, as well as the regions we serve during the years to come. We know that without them there would be no Brittany Ferries, and no Galicia.
We made this investment before the pandemic hit, but we still believe in this decision. Galicia will be kinder to the environment. She’ll be more efficient. And of course – she will be crewed by expert, welcoming French seafarers – an aspect our British customers appreciate. These three new ships are just the start of a bright new future for our company and most importantly our customers”.
Galicia will serve routes linking Portsmouth and Santander (northern Spain) and Portsmouth and Cherbourg (Normandy).
The ship has also been designed with the environment and efficiency in mind. Particular attention has been given to Galicia’s fuel-efficient propulsion plant and its long, slender hull and bow, with fine lines giving excellent seakeeping in all weathers, and a significantly lower emissions footprint compared to other ships of a similar size.
Brittany Ferries’ technical director Arnaud le Poulichet, who has overseen the conception of the ship since the first steel was cut in 2018 says: “Galicia has already exceeded all our expectations. She is technologically advanced, easy for our crew to operate, and most importantly comfortable for our customers. We are confident that they will appreciate her”.
Galicia will make its first commercial crossing between Santander and Portsmouth on 2nd December.