BRITTANY FERRIES HAS today announced that it is cancelling or scaling back its sailings until the beginning of April due to the coronavirus outbreak across Europe.
The French ferry operator said the decision was taken in light of the issues around staffing vessels over the coming weeks.
In a statement this morning, it said: “On 12 March, the French government announced steps to protect its citizens. As a company employing all-French crew, Brittany Ferries must also respond quickly.
“It must prepare for the possibility that many crew may not be available to work, either through self-isolation or because they are caring for family members at home.
“The Spanish government has announced a state of alert, applicable from 14 March… the measures are therefore designed to ensure sufficient crew are available to operate as many services as possible, while responding to the dynamic political situation in Spain.”
The Kerry vessel sailing from Rosslare to Bilbao in Spain which operates seven days a week will take only freight traffic. The last passenger service will leave Bilbao at 12pm on Sunday 15 March bound for Rosslare. This change applies until at least 9 April 2020.
Following a dry-dock in Poland, Pont-Aven will not return to service on Tuesday as planned until at least 10 April 2020. That vessel normally docks and departs in Cork on Saturdays.
Brittany Ferries will withdraw its Étretat vessel from service, following its arrival into Le Havre from Portsmouth on Tuesday.
A statement from the company said the changes will be reviewed by directors in the days and weeks to come.All passengers with existing reservations will be offered a full refund or alternative arrangements will be made on other Brittany Ferries services.
“On behalf of everyone in the company, I would like to apologise for the significant disruption this will cause to many customers,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries.
“However, under the extraordinary circumstances of the current crisis, we have no option but to take decisive action now to respond to the challenges we face. We thank everyone for their understanding at this difficult time.”