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Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Brittany Ferries' flagship vessel, 'Pont Aven', is sailing to Brest for emergency repairs to its steering system.

The ship operates the UK-Spain and Plymouth-Roscoff-Cork routes. The latest disruption to the schedule follows soon after the engine room fire which put the ship out of action for several days, and limited the ship's speed. Now, according to the company, a hydraulic problem with one of Pont-Aven’s two steering gear systems was reported during manoeuvring in the port of Roscoff.

Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO, said: “Unfortunately she has suffered two technical problems in rapid succession. While the previous engine problem, which reduced the ship’s speed from 24 knots to 20 knots, is entirely unrelated to the current steering gear issue, the consequence of further bad luck is significant inconvenience for our passengers."

Pont-Aven is fitted with two entirely independent Rotary Vane steering gears, each operating one of two rudders. These are self-contained units positioned at her stern directly above the rudders. Hydraulic oil is injected at high pressure into a series of chambers which operate the rotating part of the steering servo-motors. As these chambers fill, the rotor turns, thus moving each rudder in the desired direction. Pont-Aven’s engineers were alerted to low oil pressure in the starboard steering gear. An oil leak was identified which caused the pressure loss and a reduction in steering capacity. Under these circumstances, the decision was immediately taken to take Pont-Aven out of service in Roscoff, for investigation and remedial work to be carried out.

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