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The 2 Tops

Brittany Ferries Overcrowding On The Vehicle Decks

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Brittany Ferries are indeed a French company, and perhaps more to the point their ships are all registered in France (unlike some well-known names like P&O who register their ships in tax havens like Bermuda. Surely not so that they can avoid paying proper wages?)

Edited by iansoady

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Just thinking about this statement

 

However, sufficient distance between vehicles should be provided to permit safe access for the crew and for passengers getting into and out of vehicles and going to and from accesses serving vehicle spaces.

 

What is classed as sufficient? Safe access is not easy or comfortable!

 

There is nothing about distance all round

 

So in theory as long there is one location on the deck to pass across the lines it still complies, or if clearence to pass across is only at exits it still complies!

 

OK neither of those cases would be acceptable to the majority of customers but legally it would be allowed!

Edited by Ich

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Just thinking about this statement

 

What is classed as sufficient? Safe access is not easy or comfortable!

 

There is nothing about distance all round

 

So in theory as long there is one location on the deck to pass across the lines it still complies, or if clearence to pass across is only at exits it still complies!

 

OK neither of those cases would be acceptable to the majority of customers but legally it would be allowed!

I find it hard to understand the posters who seem to come down on the side of the ferry company where a less than acceptable situation arises - are they content to be treated with less consideration than animals, or just trying to be contrary and provocative?

 

From the highlighted above, if caravans/motorhomes are so tightly packed that the occupants of those vehicles are trapped with nowhere to go, other than to climb over the A-frames of other vehicles, then this is clearly unacceptable on H&S grounds - anyone who has difficulty with that obviously does not understand the laws relating to duty of care. Many of these passengers, ourselves included, are of very late 70's but not registered as disabled, yet scrambling over the A-frames of other vehicles is not something that should be entertained lightly, and certainly would not pass as acceptable in law.

 

To the comment, "but legally it would be allowed", who says so, and by what criteria? Duty of care does not end with the ship's passengers, but also includes the vehicles on board, since the ferry company, having advertised and accepted custom for the transportation of these vehicles, has professed to be equipped and qualified for this purpose, and therefore committed themselves to the laws governing these business operations.

 

Notwithstanding that nobody can foresee all the possible events of a ship at sea, everyone is aware that vehicles will rock on their suspensions, so when the loaders closely pack the vehicles in a way that is clearly negligent of these factors, then legal restraints have been breached.

 

With two situations to consider (the possible serious injury to an elderly passenger having to clamber over other vehicles, and the possible severe damage to a caravan or motorhome), on an outward journey there is not only the injury/damage to consider, but also the total loss of a holiday that could affect a whole family. If that injury/damage was due to the factors under discussion, then the ferry company would be in deep pooh at law.

From a legal point of view, the ferry company is acting as a professional organisation, is making positive claims about its competence, and would be expected to foresee the risks associated with this discussion. "We did not anticipate that", would cut no ice.

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I am unable to clamber over an A frame but have never really needed to,I walk down between the lines of vehicles till I get to the stairway where there is allways a gap for access.

A lot of passengers choose to climb over A frames in order to be with their partners on the way to the stairwells, ths isn't an option for me.

It is sometimes difficult to walk between the vehicle and the side but I have never found it impossible.

Sometimes the space to open the door to exit the vehicle is restrictive but I have never been unable to get out and had to resort to climbing over the central console.

knarf

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I'd love to see more space on the vehicle decks and haven't been on Brittany ferries for three years so can't comment on the current situation.

 

I'd also love to pay less. There's a balance.

 

If it's a genuine safety issue, fair play for people raising it. I definitely don't see a connection between this and historic ferry disasters. I'll always try to highlight what I see as inappropriate/incorrect.

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We use Brittany Ferries nearly every year on the Bretagne from Portsmouth to St Malo & return.

I can only comment on my experience with both car caravan combination, large American RV and different coachbuilt motorhomes.

In all cases I have had no complaints with any loading issues and have had sufficient space at the front & rear and sides of the units to get in and out of the vehicles and around the front and back.

I'm not trying to support the ferry company but this is my experience. This year I forgot to put the caravan handbrake on on the caravan but when I came back to disembark the ferry workers had put it on for me.

Just my experience on 15 or so crossings.

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I am unable to clamber over an A frame but have never really needed to,I walk down between the lines of vehicles till I get to the stairway where there is allways a gap for access.

A lot of passengers choose to climb over A frames in order to be with their partners on the way to the stairwells, ths isn't an option for me.

It is sometimes difficult to walk between the vehicle and the side but I have never found it impossible.

Sometimes the space to open the door to exit the vehicle is restrictive but I have never been unable to get out and had to resort to climbing over the central console.

knarf

Well, on the occasion I am referring to, unless you are able to squeeze through a space of 10 cms (4") or less, then you would have had no choice but to climb over an A-frame, as did we. For my wife it was one climb, but for me it was two, because I was on the opposite side of my car. And we are in our very late 70's. I did take photos of the tightness, but have not found out how to reproduce them on here.

Others are saying how they've had no trouble - neither had we until this last journey - and comments from other passengers indicated that this was not a 'one-off'. Others were grumbling about the situation, claiming they would make a complaint, but I wonder how many could not be bothered after the event.

 

Today I received a reply from Brittany Ferries. They said they were sorry for the anxiety caused, but softened this with the explanation that the Loading Officer and his crew were all very experienced. The complexity of loading was mentioned.

They said, "In recent years however, there has been an enormous growth in the numbers of passengers travelling in wider people carriers or 4x4 type vehicles.

This factor, combined with a number of passengers arriving at the port with bicycles or luggage attached to the rear or roofs of their vehicles without having forewarned our staff. ......".

None of this is relevant to the width of caravans and their being parked up so closely together. So, are we to take it that the blame for our circumstances rests with these owners of people carrier and 4x4 type vehicles? My own MPV is shorter and narrower than a standard VW Passat estate, whilst some 4x4's are simply standard vehicles fitted with 4-wheel drive.

 

I appreciate that Brittany Ferries have taken the time to reply to my complaint but, from the point of view of those of us who suffered this crowding and clambering difficulty, and especially those who claimed that their vehicles were damaged, I don't think that B. F. have really addressed the situation at all.

 

To those of you who have always been happy with B. F. service, as we have been until this last trip, I hope that satisfaction continues. However, as others and ourselves have learned, there is no guarantee that this will always be the case.

Bon voyage.

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I had a similar experience on the St Malo ferry some time ago and was directed so close to the ships side that any movement overnight would have caused damage to my van on its first outing and it was also fortunate that our overnight bag was in the car as we could not have opened the caravan door. On the other side a trailer with overhanging scaffolding poles was 30 mm away from the side of my van and extricating the caravan in the morning was clearly a worry to the more sympathetic crewman (than the one who had put me there). I later met others who on the same route but a different sailing had needed to uncouple and manhandle the van in similar circumstance.

I sent photos of the incident to the Caravan Club with whom I had booked the crossing with a request that they take it up with Brittany Ferries. They refused saying they had no influence with the company. I then complained to the Chief Exec of BF who sent me an apology stating that we should expect the same clearance on one of their ships as would be found on a multi-story car par (their words) and that the crew concerned would be "spoken to". I was most surprised that as a member of the travelling public I could get this response when a major customer like the Caravan Club felt they had no influence.

My advice is to complain and address it to the Chief Executive Officer whose name can be found on the net.

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David as I have been saying for many years the caravan "club" is no longer a club but just a moneymaking business.

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I join with interest I've just booked Plymouth/roscoff for next year on the armorique,gave the lady all my details I. e passengers sizes and she gave me a price,I held the crossing whilst I checked the cc,price who where £100 more,on ringing back I told the lady the height of my van is 2. 63 not 2. 6 she says thanks for that just another £90,I said that's harsh as I've never been charged that before,so she says ok I will leave it at 2. 6,upon measuring my van to the top of the ariel it's only 2. 57 ish bit worried but I will just turn up I've never seen one operator with a tape measure lol,(anyway I will let the tyres down before I pay (90)😀

Edited by Happy feet

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I had a similar experience on the St Malo ferry some time ago and was directed so close to the ships side that any movement overnight would have caused damage to my van on its first outing and it was also fortunate that our overnight bag was in the car as we could not have opened the caravan door. On the other side a trailer with overhanging scaffolding poles was 30 mm away from the side of my van and extricating the caravan in the morning was clearly a worry to the more sympathetic crewman (than the one who had put me there). I later met others who on the same route but a different sailing had needed to uncouple and manhandle the van in similar circumstance.

(a)I sent photos of the incident to the Caravan Club with whom I had booked the crossing with a request that they take it up with Brittany Ferries. They refused saying they had no influence with the company. (B) I then complained to the Chief Exec of BF who sent me an apology stating that we should expect the same clearance on one of their ships as would be found on a multi-story car par (their words) and that the crew concerned would be "spoken to". I was most surprised that as a member of the travelling public I could get this response when a major customer like the Caravan Club felt they had no influence.

My advice is to complain and address it to the Chief Executive Officer whose name can be found on the net.

David, I did discuss our incident with a representative of the C. C. Travel service. He was sympathetic, to the point of seeming to agree that it "was not right", and suggested I might publish details on the Club Together forum. I said I'd consider this after taking the matter up with B. F. customer services. Doesn't leave me with any hopes of an intervention by C. C. HQ, though.

 

So, (a) That C. C. response doesn't really surprise me - these people are only interested in hassle-free lives and the belief that everything is always rosy.

(B) A great move, and it will be my next step, as I am not satisfied with B. F's customer service reply. They have offered me a £50 travel voucher off our next trip, but it will be rejected as I am not seeking money - I want an assurance that this experience is a one-off which will never be repeated.

B. F. have a monopoly on the Western Channel - it is up to aggrieved passengers to make the necessary noises to try and ensure that this monopoly does not work against the paying public.

 

Wish someone would point me in the right direction to put the pictures up!!!

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I am a regular user of BF St. Malo/Portsmouth and recently travelled on the last night crossing and suffered the overcrowding mentioned which was the first time this has happened in many years of using BF.

 

One aspect of this problem is that either some people would not have been able to book on that crossing or if some turned up with larger units than booked then some may have been left behind.

 

This overcrowding could be looked upon as greed but possibly they do this to try and keep costs down, not condoning the situation though.

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When we are requested to state our vehicle/outfit sizes, only length and height are required. It obviously follows that the vehicle decks are marked into 'lanes' - some decks only for cars and possibly light vans. As we have always found previously, caravans and motorhomes go onto the same decks as the large HGV lorries and coaches. In all cases it has been possible to walk between the lines of vehicles to reach a point where a stairwell is available for leaving the vehicle deck. On occasion I have even been able to open our caravan door to switch off the fridge (on electric at this point) to prevent its warning light from continually flashing whilst the car ignition is off. This time I had to be quick before another caravan was pulled next to mine with a clearance of less than four inches.

 

The return fare was no cheaper than the outward trip, where no crowding occurred, so it could not have been to keep costs down. But the additional vehicles loaded by crowding were not free passage, so the extra cash went somewhere.

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2Tops, I see that you travelled back the same date as we did but we were on the Barfleur.

The ferry was packed and every spare inch was utilised,Having said that we had no problem .

 

I remarked at the time that I had never seen so many passengers and was reliably informed that it was mainly due to the ongoing problems with the ferries/chunnel at Calais with an increase in unbooked freight and also private vehicles.

knarf

Edited by KNARF

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Despite the complaints Brittany Ferries won the Telegraph award for best ferry company on the Channel in 2014 in which 90,000 people took part, and won it in 2013 too.

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Despite the complaints Brittany Ferries won the Telegraph award for best ferry company on the Channel in 2014 in which 90,000 people took part, and won it in 2013 too.

I had my issue that time on the St Malo crossing but put it down to a particular (and not very pleasant) crew member. My complaint afterwards was with the lack of interest from the Caravan Club who I think strictly speaking I had "contacted" with rather than BF.

I love BF in spite of this and always enjoy the crossing and the food.

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Hi, David. I have been trying to find the address for the Brittany Ferries CEO, but am getting conflicting details. Is the CEO still Jean-Marc Roue? Do you still have that address handy? It would be much appreciated.

I wish to pass on to him the reply from B. F. customer services, and mention his response to you regarding "the same space you would find on a multi-storey car park".

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The name I had for the CEO Brittany Ferries was (in July 2009) a Ms Jourdren but this is probably out of date . The Address I used was: CEO Brittany Ferries, Brittany Ferries, Millbay, Plymouth, PL1 3EW.

 

The complaint was passed to their customer services and I had a reply from a Andy Kennington who may also have moved now but the letter which I still have reads.

 

 

 

" We were sorry to hear of your disappointment with the loading of your vehicle onto the Bretagne, prior to your recent sailing between Portsmouth and St Malo.

 

I am sure you will appreciate that the loading of the car decks is a complex matter for the Loading Officer and his crew. Before the vehicles can begin to embark the ship, the Loading Officer must take into consideration a number of factors, such as; the number of vehicles booked onto that sailing, the number of vehicles able to fit onto the suspended car decks, thus allowing larger vehicles to be parked underneath, the number of passengers who require assistance manoeuvring in and out of their vehicle, and the overall balance of ship whilst at sea.

 

At times, vehicles may be parked close up to one another, or close to the side of the ship. However there should always be enough space to vacate your vehicle as you would expect from any multi-story car park ashore.

Clearly this was not the case judging by the scanned images enclosed in your letter. Your feedback will be passed to the Loading Officer and Purser so that they are aware of your dissatisfaction and I apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused"

 

Hope this helps

David

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Hi, David. I have been trying to find the address for the Brittany Ferries CEO, but am getting conflicting details. Is the CEO still Jean-Marc Roue? Do you still have that address handy? It would be much appreciated.

I wish to pass on to him the reply from B. F. customer services, and mention his response to you regarding "the same space you would find on a multi-storey car park".

You could try BFEnthusiasts site, which has a forum to find this information. I am sure someone on there will know who it is currently.

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Hi, David, and thanks for the details. The first part of the letter is more or less similar in vein to what I received. Regarding the balancing of the ship, as far as I am aware this is achieved by ballast tanks which are filled with water as necessary. At time of booking, no vehicle weights are asked for, and the minimal info required doesn't even identify vehicle or caravan make/model, so loading is obviously based on visual sizes by guesswork.

 

That part of your letter which you highlighted does not appear in any form in the letter I received, although the inadequate spacing was the crux of my letter. Perhaps they have since decided to avoid this point but, as it was identified by their then CEO, I see it as still usable for argument.

 

ian16527 - thanks for the BFEnthusiasts site info. there may be some useful criteria to follow up.

 

I am waiting for ink cartridges for my printer. When they arrive I will produce prints of the crowded conditions for our caravans and send these to both the CEO and customer services to challenge them further.

Edited by The 2 Tops

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I have registered on the www. bfenthusiasts site. Already, someone has started a thread, beginning with post#1 challenging the truth of my complaint although others seem to have had similar experiences. One poster suggested that my 5 - 10 cms spacing was an exaggeration.

Well, on this forum I have managed to enter a photo attachment to show the situation.

To see it go onto the site and click on Forum>Brittany Ferries Forums>Q&A>Tightly packed vehicle decks

 

My contribution, with picture, is Post #16

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I have registered on the www. bfenthusiasts site. Already, someone has started a thread, beginning with post#1 challenging the truth of my complaint although others seem to have had similar experiences. One poster suggested that my 5 - 10 cms spacing was an exaggeration.

Well, on this forum I have managed to enter a photo attachment to show the situation.

To see it go onto the site and click on Forum>Brittany Ferries Forums>Q&A>Tightly packed vehicle decks

 

My contribution, with picture, is Post #16

The link didn't work for me but I found your picture and post here

 

http://bfenthusiasts. com/forum/forum/brittany-ferries-forums/q-a/249556-tightly-packed-vehicle-decks

Looks tight!!

 

Gordon

Edited by Geemac

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I have registered on the www. bfenthusiasts site. Already, someone has started a thread, beginning with post#1 challenging the truth of my complaint although others seem to have had similar experiences. One poster suggested that my 5 - 10 cms spacing was an exaggeration.

Well, on this forum I have managed to enter a photo attachment to show the situation.

To see it go onto the site and click on Forum>Brittany Ferries Forums>Q&A>Tightly packed vehicle decks

 

My contribution, with picture, is Post #16

Sorry - it is post #21. For some reason it won't allow me to edit???

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Wow, worth getting the photo in case there was damage. I'd have refused to move that close to another vehicle, even without the factor of vehicles rocking.

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Totally disgusting! I wouldn't park that close without a fight, hope they listen to your complaint and take notice!

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