The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is praising its crews’ handling of yesterday’s power issues on board Manxman.
Sailing from Douglas to Heysham, Manxman experienced a temporary issue with control systems resulting in a reduction in propulsion power.
Following standard operating procedures, the engineering team managed to restore full functionality and allow the sailing to proceed, only for the same issue to recur.
At this stage, the Master made the decision to return to Douglas rather than risk entering Heysham Port with the danger of an unknown fault recurring whilst in the midst of a tricky manoeuvre.
The Company always puts safety first and acknowledges the prompt action taken by the crew in a highly-pressurised situation.
Following the safe docking of Manxman in Douglas Port, passengers who wished to continue their journey were able to transfer to Ben-my-Chree for the 20:00 sailing to Heysham.
Overnight the ship’s engineering team have traced the source of the fault and established updated procedures for dealing with a similar scenario if it should ever reoccur.
Pending testing at sea, the Company is hopeful Manxman will resume service imminently. The Company has prepared contingency plans if for, any reason, Manxman is not able to resume service.
Managing Director Brian Thomson said ‘There’s no roadside assistance when you’re out at sea. We’re very used, on the Isle of Man, to thinking of a sailing to Heysham as more or less routine, but as yesterday shows, no two days are the same at the Steam Packet Company and the experience and skill of our team is real a strength of the business.’
He added: ‘At no stage was anyone in any danger yesterday but it’s important we recognise the dedication and professionalism of the crews when dealing with tricky situations like this. Reacting to situations that develop very quickly requires a cool head, especially when you know your decisions will be very much in the public eye. Our team made the right calls yesterday. We’d like to apologise to everyone who was affected by the disruption, but hopefully now we know how to avoid anything similar happening in the future.’
Mr Thomson concluded: ‘I’d also like to put on record my thanks to the crew members who pulled out the stops to make sure Ben-my-Chree was able to sail today to cover for Manxman. We are very aware, as a team, of the Company’s role as a lifeline service, and making sure a sailing goes ahead to reduce inconvenience and keep the island running is always front and centre in our minds.’