The statutory biennial overhaul of Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel Ben-my-Chree will begin on 12th April.
The 12,500 tonne ship, which has served the Island for 18 years, will go into dry dock for three weeks for the scheduled ‘service’. The work will include a technical overhaul as well as refurbishment of some of the passenger areas, including improvements to the seating, general decor and lighting in the Executive, Niarbyl and Premium lounges. The vessel is due to return to service on 4th May.
During the overhaul MV Arrow, which the Steam Packet Company currently has on charter, will provide freight services. Fast craft Manannan will operate passenger services with a schedule which was published last autumn.
From 12th April until 3rd May inclusive sailings will depart Douglas for Heysham at 08.00 and for Liverpool at 15.00, with the return sailings departing Heysham at 12.00 and Liverpool at 19.15. The only exceptions will be on 20th and 27th April when Manannan will operate the Belfast route instead of Heysham.
A coach service will be provided at Heysham to transfer foot passengers to and from Lancaster railway station.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It is a statutory requirement that Ben-my-Chree undergoes a technical overhaul every two years, and also an opportunity for us to invest in upgrading the facilities for passengers and crew.
‘This does mean the vessel is unavailable for three weeks, requiring some changes to our sailings during this period. We published Manannan’s revised schedule last autumn to give as much notice as possible and will assist foot passengers travelling onwards via Heysham by providing a coach to and from Lancaster station.
‘Freight services will be provided by MV Arrow, once again underlining the value to the Island of the significant investment we are making to retain the vessel.
‘Ben-my-Chree will be back soon, fully serviced and ready for another busy summer season.’