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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Stricken ferry leaves for repairs
Pont-Aven
The Pont-Aven being towed out of Plymouth on her way to France
A ferry company's new 100m flagship cross-channel ferry has finally left Plymouth for repairs in France.

Brittany Ferries' ship Pont-Aven had been stuck at Millbay Docks since Tuesday, after a cracked cooling valve allowed water into auxiliary engines.

Two fully-booked sailings between Plymouth and Roscoff were cancelled.

But the 41,000-tonne vessel will now be repaired in Brest and the company hopes she could be in service for the 1200 BST departure from Plymouth on Sunday.

Cancelled sailings

There was another setback for the ferry on Thursday morning, when there was a delay in towing it from its berth - where it had been stuck since Tuesday - due to a shortage of available tugs.

But now the berth has been cleared, another Brittany Ferries vessel, the Duc de Normandie, should be able to come into Plymouth as planned at 2130 BST.

Passengers booked on the cancelled sailings were either booked onto other ferry sailings from Plymouth where possible, or re-routed via other ports such as Poole.

The crack in the cooling valve was spotted during a routine inspection in Plymouth, but Brittany Ferries said the fault caused no danger to anyone.

Employment tribunals

The Pont-Aven entered service in March. It is the largest ferry in the company's fleet, carrying 2,400 passengers and 650 cars.

Meanwhile, Brittany Ferries is being threatened with employment tribunals by 48 members of its staff.

It follows changes to sick pay and healthcare benefits which were brought in earlier this year.

The company has declined to comment on the matter.


SEE ALSO:
Ferry fault strands passengers
10 Aug 04  |  Devon
Maiden voyage for super-ferry
24 Mar 04  |  Devon
Docks set for 4m investment
17 Jun 03  |  Devon


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