Isle of Man Steam Packet Company fast craft Manannan will once again stay in Manx waters until at least the end of the year.
At the end of its 2015 season Manannan, which had previously been moored on Merseyside during the winter, stayed in Douglas harbour and it has been confirmed that this will happen again this year.
The vessel’s 2016 season concludes on 6th November, with services due to resume on 31st March 2017, and Manannan will not sail to Merseyside until early next year for her annual overhaul. Ben-my-Chree will operate services throughout the winter, including regular sailings to Heysham and weekend services to Birkenhead.
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘We constantly look for ways to improve services and respond to unforeseen circumstances and, while Ben-my-Chree is a very reliable vessel, taking the strategic decision to keep Manannan in Douglas will allow us to reduce the time it takes to resume passenger services should Ben-my-Chree be subject to any damage or mechanical issues.
‘Arrow, which we currently have on charter, will be available to ensure freight transport is continued, and having both vessels on stand-by until after the busy Christmas period will provide an extra degree of support for our vital sea links at this important time of the year.’
Over the winter a permanent repair of the port side wave-piercing sponson will be carried out. A temporary repair to the damage, which happened in March, has worked well, ensuring Manannan’s performance was not affected during the season. The work over the winter will restore the visual appearance of the sponson so it matches the starboard side.