The Steam Packet is coming under fire this morning (Sunday) after many stranded passengers were left in the dark.
A breakdown of the Ben-my-Chree has been compounded by a breakdown in communications with many of those affected unable to contact the company to assess alternative arrangements.
The vessel is out of action until New Year’s Eve at the earliest due to a fault with the ship’s hydraulic actuator.
And while the fast craft Manannan will arrive back in Douglas late this afternoon (Sunday) to cover many of the scheduled Heysham sailings, many frustrated passengers affected by cancellations yesterday and the first part of today have been unable to contact the reservations team.
The telephone numbers – 661661 and 08722 992 992 – are being manned extra early this morning (from 6.30am) but were unobtainable for some of the day yesterday and, due to demand, that has continued this morning with both lines affected.
Indeed, many passengers or their families are travelling to the Sea Terminal to speak to staff in person.
The passenger backlog could be hard to sort out with many sailings between now and the New Year virtually fully booked.
It’s also unclear if an alternative Dublin sailing will be arranged.
As it stands, Manannan will now operate a 6.30pm sailing from Douglas to Heysham this evening (Sunday), returning at 9.30pm.
The revised twice-daily timetable for Manannan for Monday (December 29) and Tuesday (December 30) will be two Douglas to Heysham sailings departing at 1pm and 7pm, returning at 4pm and 10pm respectively.
MV Arrow will cover freight services until the Ben has been repaired and all freight should be brought to and from the Island as normal.
Chief Executive of the Steam Packet Mark Woodward says the company will do all it can with the resources available:
The Sunday newspapers are being flown in.
Due to de-icing that particular flight has been delayed so the papers won’t arrive in the Island until after 9am.
The wholesalers GE Whites says it will be lunchtime before they are distributed to all the shops around the Island.Clip 1