ISLE OF MAN STEAM PACKET COMPANY VESSEL BEN-MY-CHREE TO UNDERGO PRECAUTIONARY INSPECTION

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel Ben-my-Chree is to undergo a precautionary inspection ahead of the busy TT period.

Ben-my-Chree will operate her 19:45 sailing to Heysham on Monday 16th May then head to dry dock on Merseyside on the morning of Tuesday 17th May. She will leave dry dock on the evening of Wednesday 18th May and resume her schedule with the 02:15 sailing from Heysham on Thursday 19th May.

While the vessel is out of service, engineers will investigate the cause of an unexplained vibration from one of the propellers which has developed and is only experienced when at sea.

To minimise disruption to passengers, Manannan will operate Ben-my-Chree daytime services to and from Heysham on Tuesday 18th May and Wednesday 19th May. She will depart Douglas at 08:45 with the return sailing from Heysham at 14:15, with a passage time of approximately two hours.

This will necessitate a slight rescheduling of Manannan’s Liverpool services on both days. Manannan will now leave Douglas at 17:15 instead of 15:00, with the return sailing leaving Liverpool at 20:45 rather than 19:15.

Passengers on the original 15:00 and 19:15 sailings have automatically been transferred to the 17:15hrs and 20:45hrs sailings respectively and are asked to check-in no later than 45 minutes before departure.

Passengers booked to travel on the cancelled 02:15 sailings from Heysham and the 19:45 sailings to Heysham on Tuesday 17th May and Wednesday 18th May will be contacted to discuss alternatives.

MV Arrow will provide freight cover.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Ben-my-Chree is operating her normal schedule at present and there is absolutely no concern with regard to passenger or vessel safety. However, we believe the noise may be caused by the replacement propeller blades fitted during her recent statutory overhaul by the manufacturers.

‘With the TT period, our busiest time of year, so close and with all our vessels operating at peak capacity we simply cannot afford to take any chances. We believe taking this precautionary measure is the most sensible option to ensure we have reliable services throughout the TT period.

‘We have tried to minimise the impact on our passengers and freight customers by adding a Heysham service for Manannan on Tuesday and Wednesday and bringing in MV Arrow. This situation once again underlines the importance of the significant investment we made to secure this back-up vessel to protect Island services.’