The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will officially mark its 190th anniversary next week.
As the world’s oldest continually operating passenger shipping company, it has served the Island since 30th June 1830.
The Company started with a wooden paddle steamer known as Mona's Isle, built at a cost of £7,052, which was launched from John Wood & Co’s yard in Glasgow after being built on the River Clyde. She arrived in Douglas and her maiden passenger crossing from the Isle of Man took place in mid-august that year.
Since then, the Company has played an integral role in the Manx community including two world wars, takeover bids and various ownership transfers, to maintain a vital lifeline across the Irish Sea for nearly two centuries.
Initially known as the Mona's Isle Company, the Steam Packet Company continues to provide a consistent and reliable service to the Island community, transporting essential supplies and of course passengers.
To celebrate the milestone, its fleet will sound its whistles in Douglas Harbour at 6pm this Tuesday evening (30th June) decked in bunting.
Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘It is with great pride that our team, both mariners and shore-based, represent a company which has a proud maritime history serving the people of the Isle of Man and that also plays a valued role in our community.
‘As with any milestone, it’s nice to reflect on what has gone before, remembering the highs as well as the challenges overcome. We’re also looking ahead to what the future might hold for us following the government purchase of the Company in 2018, the signing of the Sea Services Agreement last year and the ongoing progression of a new purpose-built vessel.
‘The history of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is a wide-ranging one and everyone will have different memories and recollections. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that from the very first ship Mona's Isle to the current conventional ferry Ben-My-Chree or our fast craft, Manannan, the Steam Packet Company vessels have always provided a sense of pride and security for the people of the Isle of Man.
‘We are looking forward to the next part of our journey and furthering our commitment to the long-term future of sea services for the Island and its people. On Tuesday though, we will pause for a few moments, to celebrate those who have served us with distinction and celebrate a great milestone.’