Following the cancellation of this morning’s Ben-my-Chree sailing due to an issue with the steering gear, Steam Packet Company engineers have now extensively tested those parts of the steering gear equipment which they are able to access.

As a result, the Company has been able to conclude that the fault lies within the hydraulic actuator, the repair of which will require assistance from the equipment manufacturer. It is believed that the hydraulic actuator seals may have failed. This equipment was fully serviced, and these seals all renewed, at a recent major overhaul.

The Steam Packet Company has located a new unit which will be air-freighted to the Isle of Man as soon as possible. Once received, the expected repair time is approximately 36 hours, providing the manufacturer is able to provide support and technicians. The Company is urgently seeking those assurances.

Because of the anticipated repair time, tonight’s Dublin return sailing has been cancelled, along with all further Ben-my-Chree sailings until the repair has been effected. 

Given the time involved in getting a new unit to the Isle of Man, coupled with the time of year and the repair time once the Company has the unit, it is now expected Ben-my-Chree will be out of service until Wednesday 31st December.

MV Arrow is already on her way to Douglas and will then take up a daily 17.30 Douglas to Heysham and 01.30 Heysham to Douglas freight service until the Ben has been repaired. This should ensure that all freight traffic will flow as normal.

Manannan will arrive back in Douglas tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 28th December). She will then operate an 18.30 sailing to Heysham, returning at 21.30 from Heysham. Crossing time will be 2hrs 15 minutes.

The revised twice-daily timetable for Manannan for Monday 29th December and Tuesday 30th December will be two Douglas to Heysham sailings departing at 13.00 and 19.00. Departures from Heysham will be at 16.00 and 22.00. Crossing time will also be 2hrs 15 minutes.

Mark Woodward, Steam Packet Company Chief Executive, said: ‘On behalf of the Steam Packet Company I sincerely apologise to all our passengers and customers at this busy time of the year. I assure you that we have been making, and will continue to make, every effort to restore normal services as soon as we possibly can.’