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(1 May 2021) Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel Ben-my-Chree will now return to service on Thursday, 13th May, it has been confirmed.

Following a scheduled three-week period in dry dock, she was due back in action on Friday, 7th May. However, during routine inspections of the vessel whilst in dry dock, stern tube bearings were found to be worn more than expected.

Although the wear is within tolerances, the opportunity has been taken to remove these and send them to a specialist company for remanufacturing and re-lining, to maximise reliability and longevity.

Due to these unplanned works and the necessity to source a company with immediate capacity to carry them out, the docking will be extended by approximately six days. The Ben-my-Chree is expected to return to IoM services on Thursday, 13th May, commencing with the 08:45 sailing.

Until then, fast craft Manannan will continue to operate daytime passenger services while MV Arrow will provide overnight freight services.

Steam Packet Company reservations teams will be contacting affected passengers.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘It is a regulatory requirement that Ben-my-Chree undergoes a technical overhaul and a full plan was in place to cover her absence well in advance.

‘The Ben did not go into dry dock last year because of Covid and the extra work we have found necessary means her refit is taking longer than originally planned.

‘Over the next few weeks that work will conclude and once comprehensive testing of control systems, equipment and safety checks are completed, we look forward to welcoming her back, fully serviced and ready for, hopefully, a busy season.

‘The measures we have put in place with Manannan and Arrow ensure we are able to maintain our passenger services and our ongoing commitment to transport essential food and goods to the Island community.’