Five thousand ferry passengers are facing travel disruption over the coming weekends after Brittany Ferries was forced to cancel a number of sailings between Ireland and France.

The company's Pont-Aven vessel, which has been out of service for repair work since 17 May, will now not resume operations until 14 June.

A number of sailings between Cork and Roscoff have been cancelled as a result, including services this weekend, 31 May and 1 June.

Sailings on the route the following weekend, June 7th and June 8th, are also cancelled.

The cruise-ferry can carry up to 2,400 passengers and 650 cars.

Brittany Ferries' said its technical teams has been "working around the clock" to carry out repairs to the ship's starboard-side steering gear.

However the company said "despite these efforts it has now become apparent that this work will take longer than initially planned, whilst replacement parts are delivered and installed, and comprehensive checks are carried out."

Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu said he "would like to apologise profusely for the further delays to the return of our flagship Pont-Aven, and the disruption that this will cause to travel plans."

The company said its priority now is to make contact with all the affected customers and it said additional sailings will be operated between Plymouth in the UK and Roscoff, while some Cork to Santander in Spain rotations will be diverted to the Cork to Roscoff route "in order to give passengers the best possible opportunity to arrange alternative sailings."

However, Brittany Ferries said "if no suitable alternative is available then a full refund will be offered."

The company is asking customers with bookings not to call "due to the exceptional number of phone calls involved" but rather to wait to be contacted by its customer relations teams over the coming days.