Suspended by the pandemic
Closed since March 19, 2020, the maritime link between Marseille and Algiers will resume service. On October 12, the Algerian transport ministry announced in a press release that the Algerian public company ENTMV-Algérie Ferries would once again transport travelers. “To France, from 1is November “. For the moment, a return trip is planned every week. Corsica Linea, the French competitor on this maritime link, has not yet announced the resumption of its crossings.
But the principle of reciprocity should allow the company to resume its traffic on this line during November. The only downside is that Algiers is currently the only city served. The trips to Oran, Béjaïa, Skikda and Annaba have still not resumed. The Algerian Ministry of Transport “Will examine the programming of additional trips to other destinations according to the evolution of the health situation of the country. “
Since the start of the pandemic, few Franco-Algerians have been able to return to the village. Some have missed weddings, birthdays, funerals… and suffer from not seeing their families. The Algerian borders have gradually opened up since June, but air travel, the only means of access until then, has become scarce. “Before the crisis, there were 64 flights a day between France and Algeria. Today, there are 24 a week ”, remarks Elyas Attar, editor in chief of the site Visas Voyages Algeria. A good part of the flights are therefore full.
The resumption of crossings was therefore eagerly awaited. Hundreds of people stepped in front of Algeria Ferries agencies, especially in Paris and Lyon. Taking by storm, the company called on its customers to reserve their seats on the Internet. “It’s a huge relief. My family will finally be able to find their land and their loved ones ”, rejoices a young Franco-Algerian, Nawel Belnour.
Brand new boat
This takeover will mark the great debut of the new ship: the Badji Mokhtar 3. Algeria Ferries’ latest acquisition comes straight from the shipyard in Guangzhou, China. This new boat rejuvenates the company’s fleet, which is rather aging. “The condition of the boats was unspeakable: dilapidated, dirty, and poor service … The arrival of this new boat is excellent news”, rejoices Nawel Belnour.
the Badji Mokhtar 3 has a transport capacity of 1,800 passengers and 600 vehicles. There will be two restaurants, a tea room, play areas for children, a gym and a prayer area. “It’s a luxurious boat for a company like Algeria Ferries”, notes Elyas Attar. Faster, this ship will make the crossing in eighteen hours, when previous liners took almost six hours longer.
At the port of Marseille, management says “Very happy that such a historic line can start again”. In 2019, the port of Marseille had 388,687 passengers coming or going to Algeria, which represents 12.5% of its traffic. These crossings are widely used by the vast Algerian community of Marseille, estimated at more than 220,000 people. But not only. “We mainly find families there, coming from all over Europe”, explains Elyas Attar.
The prices, more attractive than those of the plane, allow the most modest households to return to the country and to travel with their car. Before the announcement of the takeover, Franco-Algerians feared a surge in prices, like that of air transport. In fact, since June, prices have soared (from 700 to 1,000 euros round trip). The management of Algeria Ferries ensures that the prices will remain the same as before the health crisis (316 euros round trip).
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Between Marseille and Algiers, a sea crossing eagerly awaited