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Steam Packet vessel remembered

The loss of the Ellan Vannin 100 years ago to the day is being marked in Liverpool and here in the Isle of Man today.

Twenty-one crew and 14 passengers perished when the Steam Packet ship foundered in one of the worst storms of the century, en route to Liverpool.

A commemoration of the tragedy will be held on the river Mersey close to the spot where the vessel went down.

She began her ill-fated journey in Ramsey, and today the town will mark its place in the story, with an outdoor service next to the harbour.

Ellan Vannin had overcome terrible conditions in the Irish Sea and had almost reached Liverpool when, on the morning of December 3, 1909, she hit a disatrous combination of weather conditions.

Amid waves 25 feet high and winds of 80 miles an hour, in almost freezing conditions and in the pitch black, she broke in two and sank.

Charles Guard of Manx Heritage Foundation, which has organised today's event on the Mersey, says few boats at the time would have survived such conditions.

Today, descendants of those who died will join a commemoration on board a Mersey Ferry at the mouth of the river.

Chief Minister Tony Brown and chairman of the Steam Packet company Robert Quayle will be among those casting wreaths on the water, while sea cadets and local school children will cast a rose for each of the victims.

In Ramsey a prayer service will be held by the harbour side. This too has been organised by the Manx Heritage Foundation whose chairman, local MHK Anne Craine, will give the address. A minute's silence will be observed at both ceremonies.

Both occasions aim to provide a solemn and dignified memorial to what was one of the worst shipping disaster the Island has ever seen.







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