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Brittany Ferries Second Spain Serving E-Flexer Salamanca Hoists the French Flag

21st January 2022
Reflagging ceremony on board Salamanca (and pictured) Jean Marc Roue, Cdt Christophe Bergeroux and Christophe Mathieu with the backdrop of the north Spanish port of Santander.  The E-Flexer class newbuild will serve UK-Spain routes. Reflagging ceremony on board Salamanca (and pictured) Jean Marc Roue, Cdt Christophe Bergeroux and Christophe Mathieu with the backdrop of the north Spanish port of Santander. The E-Flexer class newbuild will serve UK-Spain routes. Credit: Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries newest and greenest ferry when in northern Spain at the Port of Santander saw an official raising ceremony of the French tricolor take place on board the Salamanca.

(The newbuild Afloat adds follows Stena RoRo's chartered in E-Flexers) that began with Galicia entering in 2020 and Santoña which will join the French fleet in 2023. All are powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LPG). 

Tuesday's ceremony on Salamanca, actually involved a reflagging as the red, white and blue of the French flag proudly replaced the flag of Cyprus under which the ferry sailed to Europe from its shipyard in China.

Salamanca's change of flag signifies that the ferry is now also officially registered in France, and part of the French merchant fleet with crew from the same nation.

The ship’s hull now bears not only the name of a Spanish town of arts and culture, Salamanca (Castilla y León). It also incudes, as does every Breton ferry in the company, that of Morlaix, the Finistère town where the ship is officially registered.

New national flagship for energy transition

Salamanca becomes one of nine ships to sail under the French flag for Brittany Ferries, the largest employer of French seafarers. Being registered in France means that French law applies on board the ship. It also requires the ship to comply with rigorous French rules and regulations relating to ownership, safety, security, environment, and crewing.

Salamanca is Brittany Ferries most green ship which runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and which emits virtually no sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide or particulate emissions following combustion. In addition, because LNG burns more efficiently than diesel, there is a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) output of around 25 per cent. The newbuild is the leading French ferry in terms of energy transition: one of the largest, most modern and cleanest in the European Union.

Following drydocking, crew training and berthing trials, Salamanca will enter service on 27th March carrying passengers and freight on routes from Bilbao, Spain and Cherbourg to Portsmouth in the UK.

By 2025, five brand new vessels will have joined the company’s fleet.

As alluded above the Galicia entered service in 2020, followed by Salamanca in 2022 and the Santoña in 2023, both powered by Liquefied Natural Gas.

As Afloat also reported they will be joined by two LNG/electric hybrid vessels in 2024 and 2025.

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

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