Latest dredging surveys in Heysham show increased silting in some areas, perhaps exacerbated by recent adverse weather. As a result, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has had to make some changes to its sailing schedule.
To ensure the Company maintains its services at this important time of the year without an ongoing and increasing delay to sailing times, a revised timetable will see a number of schedule adjustments. This is necessary both to work around the water depths available and to allow sailing crews to maintain work and rest patterns.
That will include fast craft Manannan operating two sailings tomorrow (Wednesday), in place of the Ben-my-Chree. Manannan will depart Douglas at 08:45hrs and return from Heysham at 14:15hrs.
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We very much regret the changes we have had to make to our timetable but this is necessary to keep our passengers and freight moving as expected. Poor weather over the last few days has compounded the problems and these changes will enable us to deliver the services needed in the run up to Christmas.
‘The results of the latest dredging campaign show we do not have sufficient under keel clearance approaching the port of Heysham, hence our decision to use our fast craft Manannan instead of Ben-my-Chree. The decision to keep Manannan in Manx waters until after the busy festive schedule was made to provide an extra degree of support for our vital sea links and respond to unforeseen circumstances such as this.
‘By making these adjustments, we aim to avoid causing considerable disruption to our passengers over the coming days; particularly at a time when we endeavour to ensure people get to where they need to be and that gifts, food and other essential supplies are delivered in time for Christmas.
‘Passengers on the affected sailings will be contacted by our Reservations Team. We will also keep passengers advised if any further changes are required.’
The revised schedule is as follows:
Tuesday 18th December
Douglas to Heysham 19:45hrs – This sailing will now depart at 20:45hrs
Wednesday 19th December
Heysham to Douglas 02:15hrs – This sailing will now depart at 04:00hrs
Douglas to Heysham 08:45hrs – This sailing will depart as scheduled, but will be undertaken by Manannan
Heysham to Douglas 14:15hrs – This sailing will depart as scheduled, but will be undertaken by Manannan
Douglas to Heysham 19:45hrs – This sailing will now depart 19:00hrs.
Thursday 20th December
Heysham to Douglas 02:00hrs – This sailing will now depart at 01:15hrs
Douglas to Heysham 08:45hrs – This sailing will now depart at 08:15hrs
Heysham to Douglas 14:15hrs – This sailing will now depart at 13:45hrs
Douglas to Heysham 19:45hrs – This sailing will depart as scheduled.
Friday 21st December
Heysham to Douglas 02:15hrs – This sailing will now depart at 01:45hrs