Brittany Ferries’ brand new LNG-powered cruise ferry Honfleur has taken to the water for the first time at a traditional ship launching ceremony at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg, Germany. At midday on Friday hundreds of well-wishers, invited guests, shipyard workers and Brittany Ferries team members lined the quaysides as the completed hull of the vessel slid down the historic building slipway and into the chilly waters of the Flensburg Fjord.
The launch is the third milestone in the construction of Honfleur, following cutting of the first steel in March, and laying of the keel in August. Since the keel was laid, 118 huge steel hull sections have been welded together on the slipway to create the 10,000 tonne six-storey behemoth that was launched today. The completed hull already contains all the ship’s main machinery including its efficient and environmentally-friendly LNG-electric propulsion system.
The launch marks Honfleur’s place in a long and historic line of ships to be constructed at the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft yard (FSG) situated on the tip of Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. Since its foundation in 1872 more than 750 ships have been designed and built at the site.
Honfleur represents a new generation of cross-Channel ferry combining state-of-the art design and sustainable thinking with a smart, digitally-informed customer experience. The ship’s passengers will enjoy innovative experiences and fresh service concepts along with the highest standards of French onboard hospitality and catering. Altogether Honfleur will carry up to 1,680 passengers and will offer 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and choice of spacious passenger lounges.
Honfleur will be an environmental pioneer on the English Channel. When it enters service it will be the first ship on the Channel to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG provides major environmental advantages, reducing carbon dioxide, and cutting sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to almost zero. The ship’s hull has been hydro-dynamically optimised; this combined with gas-electric propulsion machinery will reduce energy consumption while improving onboard comfort and minimising vibration and noise levels.
The launch marks the beginning of the next phase of the ship’s construction. Over the coming weeks and months, two giant superstructure ‘mega blocks’ currently en route by barge from shipyards in Poland will be hoisted into position by giant cranes, and the ferry’s attractive and modern interiors will be installed. Then, the ship will complete a series of sea trials allowing every system on board to be rigorously tested, before the first passengers board the vessel on the Portsmouth to Caen/Ouistreham route in summer 2019. The route is Brittany Ferries’ most popular carrying around 1 million passengers, 300,000 cars and 100,000 freight units each year.
Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ president said: “Today’s a big day for Honfleur, and a proud moment for everyone at Brittany Ferries, particularly our teams dedicated to bringing the project to fruition.”
“Honfleur will be the largest and greenest ship that Brittany Ferries has ever operated – she’ll also be the smartest: packed with new technology, innovation and comforts”, said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries.
“It’s a statement of our commitment to fleet renewal and long-term, sustainable development. And it will be the first of three new ships to be delivered post-Brexit, all part of a €450m investment programme to make Brittany Ferries fit for the future.”
“Now a new phase in Honfleur’s construction begins, as the superstructure is added and we work to prepare the ship to welcome its first customers this summer. We can’t wait to show them everything Honfleur has to offer.”
For more information and to follow the progress of the build from now until entry into service visit destinationhonfleur.com.
Honfleur’s technical specifications
Length 187.4 metres
Breadth 31 metres
Max Draught 6.6 metres
Tonnage 42,400 gross tonnes
Speed 22 knots
Passenger cabins 261
Passenger areas 5,200 m2
Vehicle capacity 2,600 lane metres (130 freight trailers, or 550 cars and 64 freight trailers)
About Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries is a passenger car and freight service operating from eleven ports, linking four countries: UK – France, UK – Spain, Ireland – France and Ireland-Spain. Its mission today is to reveal more of the fabulous holiday destinations around the coastlines of the European west.
The company was originally set up by a collective of French farmers as a freight-only operator, running from Roscoff in Brittany to Plymouth with the first crossing taking place on 1 January 1973, the date the United Kingdom joined the EEC (forerunner to the EU).
The aim then was to bring French agricultural products to a wider British market. However, the service quickly developed into an operation carrying hundreds of thousands of British tourists, eager to experience the delights of Brittany and Normandy. Today Brittany Ferries is the market leader on the Western Channel for passengers and for freight. It is also a leading supplier of ferry-inclusive motoring holidays to France and Spain. Further information can be found by visiting: www.brittanyferriesnewsroom.com & www.destinationhonfleur.com.