A revised schedule has been announced for December 16 through to December 19 to allow the Ben-my-Chree to go into dry dock for the refit of its repaired bow thrust unit.

This follows Tuesday’s announcement that, following continued pressure from the Steam Packet Company, the bow thrust manufacturer, Wartsila, had indicated that the repaired unit would be delivered by December 14.

The revised schedule will see the Ben-my-Chree operate the 0215 Heysham-IOM service on Friday, December 16 as normal, before sailing to Cammell Laird to enter dry dock.

The Manannan will then operate services for the weekend, with 0845/1415 Heysham passenger/freight services every day from Friday, December 16 through to Monday, December 19, as well as covering the Dublin sailing on the Saturday evening.

The Ben-my-Chree is scheduled to leave dry dock in the early hours of December 19, after which it will make a freight-only Heysham-IOM sailing before taking up its usual IOM-Heysham services from 1945 that night.

We now hope to be able to finalise a freighter charter by Monday next week, and if confirmed, we will then offer 0130 freight sailings from Heysham on both December 17 and 18.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘We have been working closely with the Department of Infrastructure and other affected parties to ensure that we are able to restore the Ben-my-Chree to full working order as quickly as possible. The dry docking for the Ben and the use of Manannan will proceed even if we do not receive confirmation regarding the freighter charter, with Manannan covering passenger and some urgent freight requirements. The reason for Manannan sailing to Heysham is because it needs to use that port in order to offer a freight capability. Clearly, In the event of adverse weather conditions, these timings may need revising to take account of “weather windows”.’