The scheduled dry docking of Ben-my-Chree has been delayed by 12 hours to assist freight customers maximize inbound traffic ahead of the busy Christmas weekend. This will also allow us to reschedule the next sailing of Ben-my-Chree, which will now be at approximately 19.45 this evening. As a result the Ben will resume her normal schedule with effect from the 02.15 sailing from Heysham tomorrow morning.

Ben-my-Chree had been expected to enter dry dock at Cammell Laird tomorrow (Friday) morning after completing the 0215 Heysham-IOM service, with Manannan brought in to cover passenger services and some freight services over the weekend until Ben-my-Chree returns to service.

However, after liaising with freight customers, it was decided to adjust the schedule slightly to best suit their needs.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘We have, of course, been in close contact with our freight customers throughout the recent weather conditions and the disruption to our services. Speaking to them earlier today, we offered to delay the dry docking by 12 hours to allow us to complete additional freight services before the weekend. Fortunately, Cammell Laird has had a cancellation by another operator which has made it possible for us to offer these additional services.

‘The later time for the dry-docking will allow us to catch up freight volumes and will not negatively impact passenger services which have already been scheduled to be completed by Manannan.’

The dry docking is to allow Ben-my-Chree’s repaired bow thrust unit – damaged earlier this year after ingesting debris – to be refitted. The vessel has been operating on one bow thrust unit since that date.

With regards to this evening’s 1945 IOM-Heysham Ben-my-Chree service, it will be a ‘Dangerous Goods’ sailing in order to meet urgent needs of Island businesses.  There will also additional freight only Manannan sailings over the weekend to assist with Isle of Man retailers needs.