Page last updated at 09:11 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Final sailing for Channel ferry

The Barfleur ferry
The Barfleur cross-Channel ferry has been operating for the past 17 years

A cross-Channel ferry to France which has been operating from a Dorset town for the past 17 years has made its final sailing.

Brittany Ferries said the Barfleur ferry between Poole and Cherbourg had been losing money since 2003 and it had decided to take it out of service.

But the firm revealed it had bought a new £75m ferry to increase sailings from Portsmouth to northern Spain.

Poole councillor Ron Barker said the move was a blow to tourism in Dorset.

He said it was a "bitter disappointment" for the economy of both towns.

Brittany Ferries said it was increasing the number of departures from Poole to Cherbourg using freight ships, "so it is not the end of commercial operation to Cherbourg".

The firm also said the high-speed Normandie Vitesse ferry to Cherbourg had "done very well" compared to the Barfleur since its launch in 1998 and would continue.

The ferry's final sailing set off from Poole at 2345 GMT on Sunday.

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