ex Asterion, Norman Asturias, Baltic Amber, Borja, Stena Ausonia
Connemara – © Ciminuel (Santander, 04/05/2018)
Steel twin screw “NAOS 250” motor vessel built in 2007 by C.N. “Visentini” di Visentini Francesco & C, Porto Viro yard, Italy (Yard No 216) as a Passenger Roll on – Roll off cargo ferry
- Length: 186.46m (overall) 177.4m (between perpendiculars)
- Breadth: 25.6m
- Depth: 15.0m
- Draught: 6.8m
- Tonnage: 27414 gross/9,000 net/7000t deadweight
- Engines: (2) 4T – 9 cylinder MAN/B&W 9L48/60B diesels
- Power: 21600kW/29348HP
- Speed: 24.0 knots
- Capacity: 852 – 1000 passengers, 170 cars/ 2255 lane metres
- Call Sign: ICEC, OWDO2, SVA13, 5BEQ4, FLXR, 5BEQ4
- MMSI Number: 209236000
- IMO Number: 9349760
- Port of Registry: Bari/Italy 🇮🇹, Frederikshavn/Denmark 🇩🇰, Piraeus/Greece 🇬🇷, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾, Morlaix/France 🇫🇷, Limassol/Cyprus 🇨🇾
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December 14th 2005: Contract signed.
December 20th 2004: Keel laid.
2006: During build she was chartered to Stena Line intended name of STENA AUSONIA.
April 2007: Chartered from Stena Line to Eurolineas Maritimas S.A, (Balearia) Spain and named BORJA.
May 11th 2007: Delivered to Stena RoRo Navigation Ltd, Göteborg.
May 18th 2007: Arrived in Barcelona.
May 20th 2007: Commenced services for Balearia between Barcelona – Palma.
© Manuel Hernández Lafuente (Valencia 08/10/2008)
© Wil Weijsters (Barcelona 18/10/2009)
February 20th 2010: Completed charter to Balearia.
February 24th 2010: Left Barcelona for Rotterdam.
March 1st 2010: Arrived Rotterdam.
© Simonwp (Hoek Van Holland 01/03/2010)
March 26th 2010: Chartered to AVE Lines and renamed BALTIC AMBER.
April 9th 2010: Arrived Travemünde.
© Tim Becker (Travemünde 09/04/2010)
April 10th 2010: Commenced services between Travemünde – Ventspils.
April 2010: Services between Travemünde – Riga.
October 16th 2010: Chartered to DFDS Seaways.
October 17th 2010: Services between Klaipeda – Kiel.
© Gena Amfimov (Klaipeda 16/10/2010)
© Gena Amfimov (Klaipeda 02/11/2010)
© Gena Amfimov (Klaipeda 15/02/2011)
February 20th 2011: Completion of charter to DFDS Seaways.
February 21st 2011: Left Kiel for Marseille (via Gijon).
March 2011: Chartered to LD Lines.
March 3rd 2011: Commenced services between Marseille – Tunis.
April 17th 2011: Services between Montoir – Gijon.
June 27th 2011: Renamed NORMAN ASTURIAS.
November 9th 2011: Final arrival in St Nazaire.
November 11th 2011 – November 12th 2011: Sailed from St Nazaire to El Ferrol.
November 12th 2011: Laid up in El Ferrol.
November 30th 2011: Chartered to LD Lines.
December 1st 2011: Services between Montoir – Gijon.
October 13th 2013: Trials in Santander.
November 2nd 2013 – November 3rd 2013: Sailed from St Nazaire to Santander.
November 3rd 2013 – September 8th 2014: Services between Santander/ Gijon – Poole.
© Prieto (Santander 13/11/2013)
© Prieto (Gijon 29/05/2014)
September 9th 2014: Left Poole for St Nazaire.
September 9th 2014: Left St Nazaire for Algeciras.
September 27th 2014: Chartered to Intershipping, Morocco for services between Algeciras – Tanger Med.
© Justo Prieto (Algeciras (04/07/2015)
© Emmanuel L (Valletta 20/01/2016)
January 20th 2016: Arrived Valletta, Malta.
February 2016: Chartered to Anek Lines and renamed ASTERION.
February 12th 2016 – February 15th 2016: Sailed from Valletta to Patras.
© Dimitris Mentakis (Perama 14/02/2018)
April 1st 2018: Two year ‘Renewable’ charter to Brittany Ferries and renamed CONNEMARA.
April 10th 2018: Registered Manager; Brittany Ferries BAI SA.
April 14th 2018: Left Perama for Santander.
“From the end of April 2018, we’ll be running a new route from Cork to Santander in Northern Spain. And we’ll be chartering a new ship, Connemara, to sail the route…
2018 is a year of 40th celebrations for the company. Not only is it 40 years since we launched our ferry services to Spain from the UK, it’s also 40 years since we launched sailing to France from Ireland.
What better way to celebrate these milestones than with a new direct route that links Ireland and Northern Spain together?
This is the first time that there has been a regular ferry service between Ireland and Spain and the new service will make two return crossings each week from Cork to Santander.
And, of course, we can’t open a new route without a new ship to sail on it! We’ll be chartering a ship named Connemara after the beautiful district of Western Ireland that’s known for its stunning national park and Connemara ponies.
The new route will go on sale at the end of January so please be patient. Sailings on the route will start at the end of April 2018. As well as its sailings to Spain, Connemara will also run a return sailing from Cork to Roscoff, adding extra capacity to this already popular route.”
Source: Brittany Ferries
April 26th 2018: Arrived at Astander shipyard, Santander for refit/rebranding.
© Prieto (Santander 26/04/2018)
May 4th 2018: Left Astander shipyard and sailed to Santander terminal
© Ciminuel (Santander, 04/05/2018)
May 5th 2018 (18:50 LT (UTC +2): Commenced service Santander – Cork.
© Ciminuel (Santander, 05/05/2018)
© Pieter Inpyn (Cobh, 11/09/2019)
October 30th 2019: Operated her final crossing between Cork and Santander. Replaced on the route by the charter vessel KERRY.
October 31st 2019: Refit at the Astander Shipyard, Santander, Spain.
November 6th 2019: Registered to Morlaix/France.
“Today 6th November Brittany Ferries’ Connemara has been welcomed to the shipping register of France, creating jobs for French seafarers and bringing to 11 the number of Brittany Ferries vessels sailing under the red, white and blue of the tricolore.
Connemara originally joined the fleet in May 2018, opening a new route between Cork and Santander – the first ever direct ferry route between Ireland and Spain. The chartered ship initially sailed under a European flag, but with a clear commitment that it would be transferred to the French register and crewed by French sailors after two years of operation.
This commitment has now been fulfilled six months early, allowing for the creation of 111 jobs for French crew-members, including 25 officers.
“We’re delighted and proud to raise the French flag aboard Connemara,” says Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu. “Despite the current uncertain economic and political waters we’re navigating Brittany Ferries continues its development, and reaffirms its long-term commitment to the French flag, and its position as the biggest employer of French seafarers.”
Following regulatory checks by maritime authorities in Spain, France and UK, Connemara will sail for the first time under the French flag on 13th November, operating a service from Santander in northern Spain to Portsmouth, UK. During December it will link Poole with Cherbourg, covering for fleet mate Barfleur which will undergo an extensive refit. Then in January 2020 Connemara will begin operating services between Portsmouth and Le Havre.”
Source: Brittany Ferries
November 12th 2019: Departed Astander to operate a service from Santander to Portsmouth.
November 13th 2019: Owing to refit delays and poor weather her crossings from Santander to Portsmouth were cancelled.
November 17th 2019: Arrived in Portsmouth for the first time.
© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic)
November 24th 2019: Operated a crossing from Portsmouth to Cherbourg. Thereafter operating Cherbourg to Poole to cover the refit of BARFLEUR.
November 25th 2019: Commenced service between Poole and Cherbourg.
December 27th 2019: Departed Poole for Cherbourg to be made ready for service on the Portsmouth-Le Havre route.
January 2020: Entered service between Portsmouth, Le Havre and Bilbao.
© Tony Weaver (Brittany Ferries Ships, Enthusiasts and Crew)
March 17th 2020: Owing to the COVID-19 virus outbreak and following French Government regulations in regards to containing the virus all passenger sailings are suspended until the 22nd April at the earliest. The Connemara will be kept in service running a freight only service between Portsmouth and Cherbourg.
SAILING UPDATE: 17th March 2020 11.00
“Brittany Ferries is publishing further changes to schedules today. This follows latest travel advice in key markets, and an ever-changing Coronavirus crisis situation.
The company would like to apologise in advance to all passengers affected by latest changes.”
“Connemara (Portsmouth – Bilbao)
The last passenger crossing will leave Bilbao on Wednesday 18 March at 17.15. Its arrival is scheduled for Thursday 19 March at 20.45 into Portsmouth. From the afternoon of 20 March it will move to serve Portsmouth-Cherbourg carrying freight only.”
© Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic)
March 20th 2020: Entered service between Portsmouth and Le Havre/Cherbourg carrying freight only, but no longer serving Spain.
August 19th 2020: “…..continued to operate the Cherbourg and Le Havre rotations from Portsmouth”.
September 1st 2020: “……to be taken out of service entirely from 7 September. Regrettably this means the closure of the Cherbourg-Portsmouth and Le Havre-Portsmouth routes until further notice.”.
September 7th 2020: Laid up in Le Havre.
© Nicolas Lévy (Le Havre, 13/09/2020)
October 30th 2020: Left Le Havre.
October 31st 2020: Arrived in Santander.
November 6th 2020: To replace KERRY on Bilbao – Rosslare services. Re-flagged to Limassol/Cyprus.
November 8th 2020: Left Santander.
November 9th 2020: Maiden arrival in Rosslare
All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Gena Amfimov, Tim Becker, Chiminuel, Pieter Inpyn, Dimitris Mentakis, Emmanuel L, Gary Davies (Maritime Photographic), Tony Weaver (Brittany Ferries Ships, Enthusiasts and Crew), Manuel Hernández Lafuente, Nicolas Lévy, Justo M Prieto, Prieto, Simonwp, Wil Weijsters and Andreas Wörteler for their assistance in producing this feature.