Direct ferry route announced between Ireland and Spain

A new ferry route between Ireland and Spain has been launched by Brittany Ferries.

Direct ferry route announced between Ireland and Spain

The company, which already operates regular sailings between Bilbao and Santander to UK ports, will run a twice-weekly service between the northern Spanish port of Santander and Cork on Ireland’s south coast beginning from the end of April.

Britanny Ferries announced that the new route would be provided by the 'Connemara', a ferry equipped to carry around 500 passengers with space for 195 cars.

“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork,” said Hugh Bruton, general manager with Brittany Ferries Ireland.

“As a destination so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland,” he said.

It is the first time Brittany Ferries has offered a route between Ireland and Spain, although in 2014, LD Lines launched a connection between Rosslare and Gijon but the service only last a season.

The first tickets will go on sale from the end of January but the fares have yet to be announced.


Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port

UPDATE: A ferry that ran aground next to islands between Finland and Sweden with nearly 430 crew and passengers on board, was refloated and heading for port, its owners said Sunday.

Grounded Finland ferry refloated and heading back to port
The Viking Line ship Grace hit rocks in in the Aland archipelago. Photo AFP

The Viking Line's “Grace” hit rocks on Saturday afternoon while sailing between the Finnish port of Turku and the Swedish capital Stockholm, shortly before a stopover in Mariehamn, in the Aland archipelago, Finland's coast guard said.

The passengers had to spend the night on board, though there was no immediate danger as it was not taking on water. No one was hurt in the incident.

A tug boat helped refloat the ferry in the small hours of Sunday morning, the coast guard said on Twitter.

After disembarking around 260 passengers at Mariehamn, it went on to its home port of Turku in Finland, a Viking Line spokeswoman told AFP Sunday. It would undergo repairs in the coming days, she added.

Although the cause of the accident has yet to be established, the coast guard said there were strong winds in the area at the time.

The company cancelled its Saturday ferry service, which was to have been taken by a smaller vessel, because of a storm warning.

In September, another Viking Line ferry, the Amorella, ran aground on the same Aaland Island and the passengers had to be evacuated.