Following confirmation from the dry dock operators, the Ben-my-Chree will now enter dry dock on Friday, 9th January.

The vessel is scheduled to re-enter service with the 08.45 sailing from Douglas to Heysham on Tuesday, 13th January. It was originally planned that she would be out of service from Tuesday, 6th January until Friday, 9th January inclusive.

The delay means that the Ben-my-Chree will now operate her normal schedule on Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th of January. She will also carry out a sailing at 02.15 on Friday 9th January from Heysham to Douglas.

Passengers who were transferred from overnight sailings on the Ben-my-Chree to daytime Viking sailings on these dates can transfer back to the overnight Ben-my-Chree sailing if they wish, and are asked to contact the reservations team on 661661 or 0871 222 1 333.

The change to the dry-docking arrangements means that Viking will be operating daytime sailings on the Heysham route from Friday, 9th January until Monday, 12th January inclusive.

The Liverpool Birkenhead sailings on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th January are cancelled as Viking cannot use the 12 Quays facility at Birkenhead. The Liverpool landing stage is not available as improvement works are being undertaken by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

Passengers on sailings that have been cancelled are being offered an alternative sailing or a full refund.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is acutely aware of, and shares, the frustration that passengers will be experiencing as a result of the delay to the dry-docking and the ongoing changes to the sailing schedule. Given the nature of dry-docking facilities and ship maintenance, repair schedules can be subject to change and, unfortunately, the Company does not have control over the facilities it needs to use.

The Company is endeavouring to contact all passengers affected by the changes to the schedule. If anyone is in any doubt about the details of their sailing, they should call the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company reservations team on 661661 or 0871 222 1 333.

A freighter has been chartered to cover the freight service.

Mark Woodward, Chief Executive of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, said: “We continue to have to work around the schedules imposed upon us by third parties. Unfortunately, the nature of heavy engineering such as ship maintenance means that plans sometimes have to change and that, in this instance, we are unable to access the dry dock until Friday, 9th January.

“I can assure passengers that we would not be seeking to carry out this work unless it was necessary and I share the frustration that they are experiencing.”