Irish Ferries has been forced to cancel all of its planned sailings from Dublin to France on its new ferry the WB Yeats. The move will impact about 6,000 bookings.

It said that due to extraordinary circumstances beyond its control, the delivery of the WB Yeats has been further delayed.

"Because of the uncertainty caused by this additional delay, Irish Ferries has no option but to cancel all the planned sailings to France for WB Yeats this Summer, with the ship now likely to commence sailing with Irish Ferries on Dublin / Holyhead in September," a statement from the company said.

Irish Ferries said that affected customers are being offered alternative travel options including alternative direct sailings on the Oscar Wilde, or a land-bridge option, which would see people sail to the UK from either Dublin or Rosslare and then on to France.

The company, which is owned by ICG, said that customers who choose the land-bridge option, will also be reimbursed the cost of their fuel requirements from the port of arrival in the UK to the port of arrival in France. 

It said that if alternative travel arrangements do not suit, customers will be entitled to a full and immediate refund of all monies paid. 

Shares in ICG were lower in Dublin trade this afternoon.

Irish Ferries was previously forced to cancel July sailings for the WB Yeats when they were informed in April by German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft of the initial delay.  

About 2,500 bookings were impacted by the earlier cancellation, however, 95% of those chose to switch to Irish Ferries' other cruise ferry, the Oscar Wilde. 

"Irish Ferries very much regrets the inconvenience these cancellations cause our customers and hopes that as many as possible will choose to be accommodated via the company's alternative arrangements and continue with their holiday plans," today's statement said. 

The company also said it would offer each affected customer a €150 voucher which can be used on any of its Ireland-France routes next year.