(4 December 2020) Portsmouth International Port has welcomed the largest ferry ever built for the city. Brittany Ferries’ newest 215-metre 41,000 gross tonne vessel Galicia made its first commercial arrival at the port at 7pm on Thursday evening. It was greeted by an impressive firework display laid on by the Port – to the delight of passengers and crew members who had gathered on the ship’s outside decks.
On board the ship were 500 passengers and freight drivers who had made the 27-hour crossing from Santander in northern Spain – along with 240 cars and 100 lorries.
With room on board for 1,000 passengers and over 3km of vehicles, Galicia is the first of three new ships designed to meet increasing demand for ferry travel between the UK and Spain. Brittany Ferries first began operating from Portsmouth to France in 1976, however it didn’t begin regular year-round sailings to Spain until 2010. Today the long-haul routes from Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao carry around 270,000 passengers, 120,000 cars and 27,000 freight vehicles in a normal year.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, who own and operate the port said: “The arrival of Galicia’s first scheduled service represents a fantastic vote of confidence in Portsmouth from Brittany Ferries, along with their plans to introduce two further LNG powered ferries in the coming years.
“They’ve been a committed customer ever since the port opened in 1976, and I’d like to thank them for working with us to ensure that the port continues to offer the highest standard of ferry travel for customers.
“2020 has been a hugely challenging year for us all, so it’s great to be able to look to the future with confidence that the port and the wider city are ready to bounce back in 2021.”
Graham Boyes, Brittany Ferries’ operations manager for Portsmouth said: “2020 has been a tough year for our customers and colleagues. But Galicia’s arrival is a sign of hope for 2021 and beyond, and her arrival is a tonic for everyone.
“Preparing to introduce such a large ship brings many challenges – from making sure the ship fits onto the berth with its bollards, ramps and gangways, to ensuring that fuelling and storing can take place smoothly, to making sure that we can handle additional flows of lorries through the port.
“But our team working together with the brilliant team at Portsmouth International Port have done an excellent job in making everything work – and now we’re all looking forward to welcoming our passengers and freight customers aboard Galicia for many years to come.”
Now that Galicia has entered service, she’ll become a regular sight in the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour, with two weekly sailings from Portsmouth to Santander departing on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings, as well as one weekly trip to Cherbourg on Sunday evenings.
Image Credit: Strong Island Media