The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is reassuring customers that there will be no effect to its TT sailing schedule despite one of the Ben-my-Chree’s two bow thrusters suffering damage as a result of ingesting some debris.

The damage is such that the after bow thruster cannot be used until a full repair has been effected. The forward thruster remains fully operational. However, there will be no impact on crossing times or on the sailing schedules, including those for the TT, which will continue as currently scheduled.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The incidence of debris is just one of a number of operational considerations with which we have to contend. With the recent period of bad weather and heavy rain, there has been an increase in the amount of debris in the coastal waters in which we operate.

‘It is unfortunate that on this occasion we have sustained serious damage to one bow thruster which has rendered it inoperable. I can confirm, however, that this will not have an impact on our TT schedule.

‘It is likely that we will need to take the Ben out of service for two short periods, initially to remove the damaged unit, and later to re-install the repaired unit. On each occasion we estimate that the Ben will be out of service for a period of 36-48 hours.

‘The first of these periods will be later in June, before the start of the busy school holiday season, and the second one after the end of the main school holiday season. The timing of both of these will be dictated by the availability of manufacturer’s specialists and dry dock slots, as well, of course, as our desire to inconvenience as few passengers as possible.

‘Passengers booked on affected sailings will be contacted and offered a transfer to an alternative sailing or be given a full refund. To those passengers and freight customers who may be affected, I would like to apologise in advance and assure them that we will take all steps necessary to make any disruption as painless as possible.’