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Friday, June 19, 2020 

Brittany Ferries and its partner company Somanor SAS, a semi-public alliance of regional governments, have confirmed that the contract with Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) for an LNG-fuelled ro-pax vessel, the 'Honfleur' has been terminated, following long delays to the build.

FSG has suffered what Brittany Ferries describes as "persistent financial problems encountered by the yard's management" - dating from delivery delays and consequent heavy financial penalties concerning the WB Yeats, an Irish Ferries newbuild. Changes of ownership at FSG have failed to bring the company back into successful operation. It managed to complete a series of ro-ro vessels for previous owner Siem, but lost orders for two ro-paxes for Tasmania and another Irish Ferries vessel order, leaving Honfleur as the only vessel at the yard. The yard stopped work due to Covid-19 in March 2020, and was placed into a form of administration permitted under German law in May.

Honfleur has been under construction at FSG since 2017, and was originally due to being operation between France and UK in June 2019. The hull was launched at the yard in December 2018, and the ship has been awaiting completion since then. It is not known if, or where, the ship will be completed. Honfleur was intended to be the first of a line of gas-fuelled newbuilds in the Brittany Ferries fleet; the next two vessels are versions of the E-Flexer design, chartered from Stena Ro-Ro, which are currently under construction in China. Brittany Ferries had made a big investment in scrubber technology in advance of IMO 2020, but is committed to LNG fuel in its longer-term decarbonisation strategy.

A Brittany Ferries release concludes: "With the surprise announcement that the yard was placed under the protection of the Commercial Court in May 2020, and unsuccessful discussions with the current management of FSG and its main creditors, Somanor and Brittany Ferries, the backers of Honfleur, acknowledged that they had lost confidence in the yard’s ability to complete the vessel within a reasonable period of time."

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