Brittany Ferries steps up security

Ship sails out of harbour left right
The Normandie leaves Portsmouth harbour on Brittany Ferries' busiest route, to Caen, which carries one million passengers a year

Armed military patrols will be supplemented by specialist personnel and extra bag checks

Security has been stepped up on Brittany Ferries’ services with armed ‘sea marshal’ patrols travelling on ships – as well as plain-clothed personnel and extra checks on bags taken into public areas.

The extra measures come after a six-month security review by Brittany Ferries which carries up to 2.7million passengers a year, with 85% of them being British.

Armed French military personnel have been patrolling vessels since last autumn, originally winched on board by helicopter in international waters, but are now boarding and disembarking by foot and travelling from port-to-port including within UK waters.

Now, before the school holidays start, additional specialist security personnel will travel on some services and may be in plain clothes. They will not be armed. Additional bag checks will also be implemented.

Company chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: “These measures are a prudent step for a responsible ferry operator and I must be clear that they are not in response to any threat.”

He added: “We work very closely with the authorities in France and the UK and security is already our highest priority. But I hope this significant investment will reassure passengers that we are taking all reasonable steps to ensure their journey with Brittany Ferries continues to be as safe as it is enjoyable.”

White ship against grey seas
Brittany Ferries new ship Honfleur will come into service in June 2019

Brittany Ferries has also invested £175million in a new LNG cruise ferry, the Honfleur, which will operate on its busiest route, Portsmouth-Caen, from June 2019.

Commercial director Mike Bevens said Honfleur would be the most environmentally-friendly vessel in UK waters, emitting less CO2 than diesel and burning with no smoke.

He added that Honfleur “is proof to our confidence that, despite Brexit, people will still want to visit France, and that demand for travel between the UK and France will remain strong, particularly from those looking to cross the Channel in comfort and style".

Built in Germany, Honfleur will replace the Normandie, which will start on the Portsmouth-Le Havre route.

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