The Steam Packet Company is pleased to announce that, following the necessary dry-docking last weekend, the stabilising fin has now been removed and sent for repair. The opportunity was also taken to complete a hull inspection and some other minor repairs.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘I would like to thank all those staff involved for completing the work so promptly and also our passengers and freight customers who made use of Manannan and Arrow during the weekend.

‘After assessing the removed stabilising fin it is clear that the level of damage is much more serious than had been expected. The manufacturers of the stabilising fin have advised that some key components, which would normally be expected to last the life of the fin, will need to be replaced. As such we are now advised the repair time will be significantly longer than first believed.

‘Accordingly, the second scheduled dry-docking (8th-10th February) will not now be necessary.’

Mr Woodward added: ‘The manufacturers are assessing the damage to the fin and we will be reviewing all options to minimise the repair time and avoid any unnecessary disruption. We will release further information as soon as we can.’

In the meantime, Ben-my-Chree will continue to operate as previously scheduled to both Heysham and Birkenhead until Manannan returns to service, as originally planned, at the end of March.