Ben to conduct berthing trial
The Ben-my-Chree is to trial a port in north Wales for contingency use.
The Steam Packet Company says the vessel will sail to Holyhead in Anglesey tomorow night, to conduct a berthing trial.
The plan is to assess the port's suitability as a backup for Heysham and Birkenhead.
Passengers aren't affected, as the vessel is not scheduled to run any services during the period.
Holyhead port is three and a half hours sailing from the Isle of Man, with access to the M6 via a 90 minute drive on the A55.
The Irish Sea port is protected by a 1.5 mile breakwater, and with 24 hour access is seen as a potential alternative to Birkenhead.
SPC Chief executive Mark Woodward said: "There have been occasions when entering Heysham has been impossible at certain states of tide, for example over the New Year period when a large piece of wooden debris blocked the harbour entrance for several days. Birkenhead 12 Quays, which the Ben sails to on winter weekends, is in regular use and simply not available to us on a suitable basis."