On Air Breakfast Warm Up Chris Quirk | 5:00am - 6:00am

Steam Packet sailing delayed by nearly five hours

There’s been more frustration for Steam Packet passengers overnight.

The fast craft Manannan returned to the Island late yesterday afternoon (Sunday) to cover the Ben-my-Chree’s (out of action with a steering unit fault) scheduled Heysham sailings.

However, the first return sailing was delayed significantly because more work was needed on the vessel following her winter lay-up.

In the end, the boat left Heysham at 2.05am - four and a half hours later than planned - and returned to Douglas shortly after 4am.

That angered many while the Steam Packet remains under fire for its communications with many passengers affected by cancellations who were unable to contact the reservations team over the weekend to make alternative travel arrangements.

That demand has led to a passenger backlog.

The Ben has been grounded since Saturday but the boss of the Steam Packet says the fault could not have been predicted and was addressed during a recent overhaul.

Chief executive Mark Woodward admits he’s frustrated after initially being unable to contact a specialist manufacturer to carry out repairs to the steering unit.

Passengers booked on the original Heysham sailings over the next few days have been automatically transferred to the new rescheduled times, albeit now on Manannan.

The newspapers will be around an hour late getting to the shops this morning.

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