Isle of Man Steam Packet Company services between Douglas and Heysham will be impacted between Friday 23rd and Monday 26th September due to the failure of an agreed dredging programme to achieve and maintain promised dredged depths at the Lancashire port.


A revised schedule for Ben-my-Chree services has been announced as a combination of tidal conditions and a lack of agreed dredging at Heysham means there will be insufficient under keel clearance for the vessel to operate its planned sailings.


The following sailings have been rescheduled:


Friday 23rd September

  • Douglas to Heysham 08:00hrs will now depart at 09:00hrs
  • Douglas to Heysham 19:00hrs will now depart at 18:30hrs


Saturday 24th September

  • Douglas to Heysham 08:45hrs will now depart at 07:30hrs


Sunday 25th September

  • Heysham to Douglas 14:15hrs will now depart at 14:45hrs


Monday 26th September

  • Heysham to Douglas 02:15hrs will now depart at 01:00hrs


All other services over the weekend will depart as scheduled.


Access to Heysham Port has been disrupted in the past due to a build-up of silt at the harbour entrance needing to be cleared. Issues caused by the silt are exacerbated at times of low tide water depths and can be affected by weather conditions


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It is deeply frustrating that our passengers are facing disruption due to essential dredging work not being completed as agreed. We and other operators who use Heysham have repeatedly called for a comprehensive and ongoing programme to ensure the removal of silt to avoid this problem. This week’s survey, the results of which were announced only yesterday afternoon, has forced us to reschedule services due to insufficient depths of water available to safely use the port at our scheduled times.


‘This causes unnecessary inconvenience to our passengers and freight customers due to circumstances beyond our control.


‘This situation was anticipated by operators, who asked for action to be taken to avoid this situation. While dredging has now commenced the latest depth soundings show that it has failed to achieve the promised depth and we cannot be confident it will be completed before Friday to give sufficient under keel clearance for the vessel to operate safely.


‘Therefore, to allow our customers some time to plan ahead we are announcing this revised schedule now and contacting any passengers affected.’


He added: ‘The need for silt dredging at Heysham is an ongoing issue faced by all operators using the port but is perhaps more vital to the Steam Packet Company as the only operator of scheduled passenger services to Heysham. We will be raising this issue and asking Isle of Man Government to support our calls for action at Heysham Port to deliver what is necessary and what has been promised to ensure timely passenger services in future.’


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