The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s flagship, Ben-my-Chree, has completed its first decade’s service in the Irish Sea.

Built by Van Der Giessen de Noord in Rotterdam, at a cost of £24 million, the ship first sailed into Manx waters on Tynwald Day 1998. Since then she has completed 14,000 sailings, covering more than 800,000 miles and has a near-100% reliability performance.

Four years ago the Ben’s passenger accommodation and facilities were extended in a £2 million overhaul.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: “The Ben is, without question, the most reliable ship ever used by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in its 178-year history. She has also been the most intensively used vessel in our history and has carried more than two million passengers in the last decade."

“In fact, she has already completed more trips than many of the former Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessels which were twice as old as the Ben is now.”

Mr Woodward added: “She has been a fantastic servant to both the travelling public and the Company, and her reliability has been outstanding.”

The Ben-my-Chree is the sixth ship in the Company’s history to bear the name and has undergone several overhauls in the last ten years, and earlier this year returned to service after a short break resplendent in her new livery as part of the Company’s re-branding.