MIC Chairman calls for Fast Craft replacement
10th January, 2012
Following a disastrous December 2011 in terms of reliability of service of the Islands ferries, our Chairman, John Quaye, has called on the Steam Packet Company to consider disposing of its fast craft and replacing it with a conventional vessel capable of providing back up to the multi purpose ship, Ben My Chree.
A combination of continued strong winds and a damaged bow thruster meant that the Ben My Chree missed more sailings in that one month of December than it it has previously missed in its entire 13 year life. This highlighted the vulnerability of relying on one single vessel to carry almost all of the freight consumed on the Island, a situation unparalled on other Britsih offshore islands.
The single biggest problem was the cancellation of all Ben My Chree services from Friday 16th December until Tuesday 20th December whilst the vessel had its bow thrust unit repaired. The freight service provided by the fastcraft Mannanan hardly scratched the surface of the rapidly increasing trailer backlog, shipping only 8 trailers per sailing compared to the Ben My Chree's 50 plus trailer capacity. This weekend was of course when retail traffic peaked it being the last full weekend prior to Christmas.
Although the combination of a defunct bow thrust unit and consistently high winds is unlikely to repeat itself, it is a dangerous situation that the populace of the Island could find itself in if there was a recurrence of a similar set of circumstances.