Mont Saint Michel is a RoPax ferry delivered in 2002 to Brittany Ferries and operated since then by the company. When built, she was one of the largest ferries in Europe. She is also one of the most profitable in the fleet.
Her names comes from a famous world-heritage site located in Western Normandy, France.
|M/V Mont St Michel (2002 onwards)|
|Launch||15th March 2002|
|Maiden Voyage||20th December 2002|
|Shipyard||Van der Giessen de Noord, Krimpen a/d IJssel, Netherlands|
|Routes||Ouistreham (FR) - Portsmouth (GB)|
|Port of Registry||Caen, Normandie, France|
|Gross Tonnage||35,891 GT|
|Engines||4 Wärtsilä-Crepelle engines - 12 cylinders|
|Speed||22.00 knots (max) - 21.00 knots (service)|
|Passengers & Cargo|
|Passengers Capacity||2,123 passengers + 123 crew members|
|Cabins and Seats||224 cabins (825 berths proposed) + 419 seats|
|Garage Capacity||830 cars /or/ 118 trucks|
|Garage Linear Length||
2,250 lane meters for lorries
3,375 lane meters for cars
Brittany Ferries ordered Mont Saint Michel on 11th September 2000 to Van Der Giessen de Noord shipyard in order to replace smaller Duc de Normandie on the route linking Ouistreham and Portsmouth, for which Duc de Normandie was too small to cope with the growing traffic. However, she was to replace in the fleet Quiberon, since Duc de Normandie was to be transferred to the Roscoff – Plymouth service after Mont Saint Michel’s introduction.
The building began on 7th January 2001 for delivery scheduled in March 2002. However, she was eventually delivered nine months behind schedule, In December. Therefore, Brittany Ferries had to operate Quiberon instead Mont Saint Michel on the Ouistreham service instead, and chartered Purbeck to cope with the freight traffic.
The name of the ship was difficult to find. As a project, she was called Normandie 2, yet it was not to be her official one. At first, she was to be called Deauville yet the name was quickly refused. Then, Brittany Ferries thought of Honfleur, before finding it to close to Barfleur, another ship of the fleet. Eventually, Brittany Ferries came up with the name Mont Saint Michel.
Her engineers and designers decided to reuse some parts of Normandie’s general arrangement regarding her accommodation decks in order to have two ships on the same route that would have a lot in common, to ease operation.
Designed for the Ouistreham – Portsmouth service, Mont Saint Michel found easily her place on the route on which she has always been operated, although she has sometimes operated services from Cherbourg-en-Cotentin or Le Havre, due to Ouistreham’s harbour being unavailable.
Mont Saint Michel was overhauled in early 2005 and her livery was slightly modified in order to paint Brittany Ferries’ new logo on her sides. Although she is in demand, her strong construction enable her to get older very well.
In early-2015, Mont Saint Michel’s crew went on strike to claim for additional crew to operate properly the ship.
Then, on 6th May 2015, Ouistreham’s dockers went on strike, claiming a wages increase and the hiring of extra-staff. In order to put the company under pressure, they decided to take as hostage the freight that was in the harbour and also Mont Saint Michel, with her crew onboard. However, the company refused to negotiate with them, paralysing Ouistreham’s traffic. Normandie had hence to be diverted to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, whilst a lot of customers was diverted to Saint-Malo, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and Le Havre services, and also to Dieppe’s services operated by DFDS Seaways.
During the night of 09th May (at 2am on 10th exactly), Brittany Ferries’ chairman, Jean-Marc Roué and other shareholders broke into Ouistreham’s harbour, wearing balaclavas and equipped with tools. Despite the presence of 3 strikers, they released Mont Saint Michel' moorings removed the lorry that was on Mont Saint Michel’s ramp in order to enable Mont Saint Michel to set sail. In less than twenty minutes, Mont Saint Michel was at sea, although her bow door wasn’t properly closed whilst she was leaving her berth.
Therefore, the dockers from all of the company’s ports refused to welcome her and she had to anchor off the coasts of Roscoff. The following day, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin’s dockers refused to welcome Normandie which also had to be diverted to Roscoff, in support to their colleagues that underwent a “piracy act”. Eventually, dockers decided to end strike on the 11th, and service resumed normally on 13th.
Following the latest European Regulations about the ship’s exhausts, it was announced in late-2013 that Mont Saint Michel would be equipped with LNG engines had the end of 2015. However, this plan has been eventually reviewed in late-2014 and it has been decided to eventually equip Mont Saint Michel with exhausts scrubbers, a much cheaper operation.
She went in dry dock between 25th September and 18th December 2015 in order to be equipped with Hybrid Scrubbers. This imply the building of a third funnel between both of her previous funnels, since the Hybrid Scrubber was too large to be installed in the older ones.
We would like to thanks Captains Cuvillier and Richard, their officers and the crew of Mont Saint Michel for their welcome on board Mont Saint Michel's wheelhouse and engine rooms in late-July 2015.