The freighter MV Arrow will return to Manx waters later this month, to supplement the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s fleet for the TT festival, which will see 11,600 motorcycles arrive in the Island.
MV Arrow was chartered for TT2012 and will once again be used to provide additional capacity for freight, supplementing the Company’s vessels Ben-my-Chree and Manannan, and the previously confirmed charter of fast craft P&O Express
In addition, an extra Manannan service has been added to the schedule for Wednesday, May 22nd, departing the Isle of Man for Heysham at 0730 and returning at 1200.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We originally had plans in place to ensure we had sufficient space for freight and vehicles for this year’s TT, without the need to charter a freighter.
‘However, bringing in MV Arrow on charter from Seatruck Ferries will improve the service to freight customers, providing them with extra capacity and giving us additional operational resilience for what is obviously our busiest time of the year.
‘MV Arrow can take around 1,000 metres of freight and will assist with peak inbound and outbound periods. It’s an expensive “insurance” policy for us, but it demonstrates our commitment to the TT.’
The number of motorbikes booked to visit the Island for the TT is up 2.5% on the comparable point last year, which in turn was up 4% on 2011.
Overall inbound passenger figures for the TT period are up 4% on equivalent forward bookings for last year.
‘With all our additional sailings we now have an extra 35,000 seats for this TT period, compared with normal spring period capacities,’ Mr Woodward said, ‘with a maximum theoretical capacity of 140,000 seats over all TT sailings.’