Grant given to Brittany Ferries to help change fleet

Mont St Michel, pictured leaving Portsmouth, is to be fitted with new scrubbers
Mont St Michel, pictured leaving Portsmouth, is to be fitted with new scrubbers
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  • Fimrm given £5m to install scrubbers on its ships
  • But firm said it’s still not enough to cover the cost
  • Changes needed to reduce fuel sulphur levels
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BRITTANY Ferries has been given almost £5m to install scrubbers on its ships to change its fleet to meet anti-pollution laws.

But the company says that is nowhere near the total cost needed for the work and will not prevent ferry prices from being put up.

The grant falls far short of the cost of fitting scrubbers to six ships at a cost of €90 million

Stephen Tuckwell, Brittany Ferries

Last year, Brittany Ferries, which operates out of Portsmouth, announced it had to spend £320m over the next four years to meet European Union guidelines.

The EU ordered fuel sulphur levels needed reducing from 3.5 per cent to 0.1 per cent by last January, on the back of recommendations by The International Maritime Organisation.

The £5m grant was given to the firm by the Motorways of the Seas programme – part of the EU’s Connect Europe Facility (CEF) – and will help fund the fitting of scrubbers – used for the gas exhaust – to the ships Pont Aven, Armorique and Mont St Michel.

But Brittany Ferries says the money is not enough, with the overall cost for fitting scrubbers to its fleet of six ships £63m.

Stephen Tuckwell, spokesman for Brittany Ferries, said: ‘We are one among a number of ferry companies including DFDS and Stena Line to have received this grant.

‘It is a contribution towards the capital cost of fitting scrubbers to three of our ships this coming winter – Pont Aven, Armorique and Mont St Michel – and we have received nothing for the three ships already done.

‘The grant falls far short of the cost of fitting scrubbers to six ships at a cost of 90 million euros.

‘It is only some eight per cent of the total. It helps but falls far short of the incremental cost we have had to bear.’

Mr Tuckwell said the firm has seen a rise in the overall fuel bill and said the grant will not make a huge difference.

‘It has minimal effect on our overall increase in costs as a result of the new sulphur regulations,’ he said.

‘So our overall fuel bill has increased considerably this year despite the general fall in the price of crude oil.’

Brittany Ferries are one of five European ferry companies that have won EU grants totalling £33.8m (48 million euros) to fit scrubbers to their vessels.