Chief Executive Mark Woodward said:

‘Work is progressing well to repair the damage to the trim tab and water jet steering gear, and I thought it might be of interest to share some photographs of the scale of the damage.

‘I would also like to scotch some of the rumours circulating on some social media platforms and forums. We have never attributed this damage to fishing gear. What we have said is that it is because of debris in the water.

‘The nature of the damage – the worst we have ever seen – suggests that something very substantial was ingested.

‘Since 2007 there have been 17 recorded major incidents where our ships have been damaged and passengers have been inconvenienced by disrupted schedules as a result. This latest incident is likely to cost in excess of £100,000 in repair costs alone.

‘It is interesting to note too that P&O Express, the ship we chartered to cover yesterday’s Belfast service because of the damage to Manannan’s steering gear, was itself damaged when leaving the Island yesterday. It reported a trim tab failure, similar to what happened to Manannan. As a result they had to cancel their own sailings yesterday afternoon and evening.’

Picture 1:
This shows the A-frame linkage for the activation of the ‘trim tab’ ride control or ‘ride stabilising system’ which is located below the two damaged water jets and has been subject to trauma, distortion and failure.

Picture 2:
This shows the reversing flap, which is critical for the safe manoeuvring of the vessel and also shows evidence of heavy trauma. This equipment is fabricated from high quality 12mm thick marine grade stainless steel plate and the damage is similar on both starboard side water jets.

Mr Woodward added: ‘It should also be noted that the damage was incurred seven days after the vessel recommenced seasonal operational service and just three weeks after leaving dry-dock. All of this equipment was fully inspected during the docking period by Steam Packet Company engineering staff, along with Classification Society Surveyors and all found to be in good order.

‘The degree of damage is unprecedented both locally and also in the community of other fast ferry operators globally that we converse and network with on a regular basis.’