As the cloud of volcanic ash results in further flight cancellations and ongoing uncertainty for air passengers, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has continued to provide high capacity lifeline services to and from the Island.

With the Ben-my-Chree and Manannan maintaining their full schedule of services the Company has capacity to accommodate more than 20,000 passengers in total from Friday through to Monday. With Manannan replacing Snaefell on the Liverpool route mid-week, anyone who may be affected by further flight cancellations will still be able to travel to the UK, either on the Company’s most recent flagship fast craft or on the scheduled Ben-my-Chree services.

With the Company’s Liverpool Pier Head location passengers needing to travel further afield are able to connect with fast and regular train services throughout the UK. The arrival time in Liverpool of 10.00 is particularly attractive for onward connections.

The increased demand for ferry travel has been such that passenger numbers on some sailings more than doubled on Thursday with Manannan’s high passenger and vehicle capacity put to great use.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The unusual volcanic eruption is causing considerable disruption and uncertainty for people travelling to and from the Island. I am pleased the Steam Packet Company is continuing to assist many people with alternative travel arrangements. With a combined capacity of over 5,200 passengers a day, both Manannan and the Ben-my-Chree have accommodated much greater numbers of passengers than originally anticipated. I am delighted that the increased capacity that Manannan provides has given us the flexibility to assist in this situation.

With 80 per cent of passengers benefiting from special offer fares, I can confirm that our special offer availability has remained in place during this period of high demand for ferry travel.

We will continue to monitor the situation with a view to the provision of additional services should that need arise.”