The Steam Packet has warned of further disruption to ferry services. One of the stabilising fins of the Ben my Chree has been damaged after a prolonged period of use in what the Packet describes as 'very heavy weather'.
The ferry will be out of action from January 17th to 20th and from February 8th to 10th.
SPC chief executive Mark Woodward said: 'After assessing the practical implications and options, which range from simply not using the second stabilising fin until the next scheduled dry-docking of Ben-my-Chree to looking for an earlier window in which to dock her, we have concluded that an early repair is the preferred option.
'However, no freighter charter cover is available to allow us to take the Ben out of service for a week. Instead we are looking to take the Ben out of service for two consecutive periods of between 72 and 96 hours each. Provisional dates have been identified. The first of these (17th - 20th January) will be to remove the damaged stabilising fin so that it can be sent away for repair. The second (8th - 10th February) will be to reinstate the repaired fin.'
A chartered freighter will provide one return service on January 19th and February 9th. For passengers, the Manannan fastcraft will be brought into service.
Mr Woodward said: 'We recognise the inconvenience this may cause to passengers and freight customers and apologise for this necessary disruption to normal services. However, we believe that with prior notice and the ability to forward plan any difficulties should be minimised. Any additional changes to our schedules will be announced as soon as they are known.'
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