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Ben damage a jolt for Packet passengers

Steam Packet vessel crashed in Douglas on Sunday evening

Ferry passengers are facing disruption and Steam Packet bosses a potentially costly headache this morning - after the Ben crashed into a pier in Douglas harbour.

Engineers carried out an inspection of the vessel's hull overnight, and divers will continue the job later this morning (13 Feb).

The Ben encountered gusting winds, much stronger than had been forecast, when she was blown into King Edward Pier while turning at around 6.15pm last night.

Passengers' photos show the Ben hitting the pier wall where the gang plank was positioned - the footway then ripping through deck railings. 

Sunday night's sailings to and from Heysham were cancelled and a further decision on this morning's ferry will be made at 10.30am following inspections by divers.

Observers say the Ben briefly ran aground just before low tide - no one was hurt in the accident and the vessel berthed safely when the wind dropped.

These foot passengers described the impact:

The Packet's back-up vessel Arrow is en route to Manx waters to carry the Ben's freight, and fast craft Manannan is on standby to run passenger services if needed.

The time frame for any repairs may be known later this morning.

Passengers are advised to check for updates on the Steam Packet's website.

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