Brittany Ferries’ Galicia sets sail again

27th December 2020

Sunday 27th December 2020

Brittany Ferries’ Galicia sets sail again

Following inspection by divers and classification authorities Brittany Ferries’ brand new ship Galicia has been cleared to carry on sailing

The latest addition to Brittany Ferries’ fleet Galicia will resume sailing its regular schedule with its 11pm departure from Portsmouth to Cherbourg this evening Sunday 27th September.

The ship will depart the Hampshire port of Portsmouth for Cherbourg in Normandy this evening carrying over a hundred freight drivers, holidaymakers and their vehicles.

The ship was caught up in Storm Bella during the night of Saturday evening into Sunday morning, and pivoted away from her berth in the wind and was blown towards Whale Island, north of the port of Portsmouth, and touched the seabed.

However in the early hours of this morning the ship returned to its berth thanks to a joint operation involving the Queen’s Harbour Master Portsmouth and Portsmouth International Port

The port emergency response team were alerted to the incident during a period of particularly high winds at approximately 3am this morning. In response the ship’s captain and crew along with two harbour pilots, the port operations teams and the crews of tugboats Bountiful, Warrior and Scotsman worked together to bring the ship’s safely alongside at approximately 5.30am.

During the incident the stern of the ship was blown onto the seabed near Whale Island to the north of the Port. There were no passengers on board at the time, and no injuries occurred. No pollution was created by the ship. Brittany Ferries will work with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and Portsmouth International Port to carry out a full investigation.

The safety of its ships, passengers and crew is Brittany Ferries’ highest priority and a hull inspection is now underway to check whether the ship sustained any damage during the incident.

During Sunday afternoon the ship was inspected by a team of divers and maritime surveyors and has been given the all-clear to carry on sailing.

Galicia departed Portsmouth for Cherbourg at 23:00 today Sunday 27th December.

Graham Boyes, Brittany Ferries’ operations manager for Portsmouth said: “Galicia is now safely back alongside, thanks to the quick and expert actions of her captain and crew, the port pilots and tugboats crews, and our partners at the Queen’s Harbour Master, Portsmouth Port Authority and Portsmouth International Port. We’d like to thank everyone involved for their excellent teamwork in bringing the incident to a quick and safe conclusion.”

Ben McInnes, Portsmouth Harbour Master said, “I am pleased that the Galicia, of Brittany Ferries, was successfully returned to the International Port after breaking her moorings during storm Bella. We activated the port emergency response team and dispatched two pilot boats, and three tugs to pull her stern free on the incoming tide. The bow remained afloat and at her berth at all times. Nobody was injured, and no pollution was created. As with any marine incident, a full investigation will take place. I am proud of the team effort to resolve the situation and bring the ship safely back to berth.”

Damage during the incident was thankfully minor and the ship has now been certified by both Brittany Ferries and its regulatory authorities to continue service.

The ship has now been certified by all appropriate authorities including the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency to resume service.


 Key company figures (normal year):

  • Turnover: Approximately €444.2m per year
  • Multi-million Euro investment in three new ships, including two powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas)
  • Employment – Between 2,400 and 3,100 employees (including 1,700 seafarers), depending on the season. 360 in the UK.
  • Passengers: Between 2.5 and 2.7 million each year travelling in approximately 900,000 cars
  • Freight: 205,400 units transported annually, and one freight-only route linking Bilbao and Poole
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: There were 854,000 unique visitors, staying 9.2 million bed-nights in France. .


Christopher Jones  [email protected] +44 (0)79 1754 0878
Nigel Wonnacott  [email protected] +44 (0) 7833 44 67 29