Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Manx Steam Packet Fast Ferry Winters In Douglas Harbour But Birkenhead Service Set to Resume

6th November 2018
873 Views
Manannan, the Isle of Man Steam Packet's fast ferry craft currently in Douglas Harbour is to winter in the Manx capital until resuming seasonal services in Spring 2019. In the meantime, Douglas-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route served by a conventional ferry is set to resume service this coming weekend. Manannan, the Isle of Man Steam Packet's fast ferry craft currently in Douglas Harbour is to winter in the Manx capital until resuming seasonal services in Spring 2019. In the meantime, Douglas-Birkenhead (Liverpool) route served by a conventional ferry is set to resume service this coming weekend. Photo: IOM Steam Packet -twitter

#FerryNews - Isle of Man Steam Packet's final fast-ferry craft seasonal sailing scheduled for this year ended last Sunday, the operator having confirmed the Manannan will again remain in Manx waters this winter.

The Manannan is currently docked in Douglas Harbour where the InCat built catamaran will spend a winter layover into next year. In advance of returning to service, the craft is to undergo routine annual overhaul before resuming on 29th March 2019 on the craft's main route of Douglas-Liverpool. Afloat adds in the high season, the craft also serves Belfast and Dublin. 

As Afloat reported today, the Irish Sea's only 'cross-channel' fast-ferry craft, Dublin Swift operated by Irish Ferries is too wintering albeit in Belfast, however the Austal built craft is scheduled to resume seasonal service on the Dublin-Holyhead route next April.

Returning to the IOMSPCo's conventional ropax ferry, Ben-my-Chree, which continues to operate throughout the season, including daily Douglas-Heysham sailings. In addition to starting this weekend services to Birkenhead on Merseyside. Afloat adds the Twelve Quays Terminal facing opposite of Liverpool, is also where Stena Line operate year round to Belfast Harbour.

According to the Manx operator, during Manannan's season this year the craft has the following statistics:

Operated 773 sailings, travelling just under 55,000 nautical miles
Maintained a 100 per cent technical reliability record
Operated at 98.9 per cent reliability – with only four return trips cancelled due to weather
Had main engines accumulate approximately 9,300 running hours

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘Once again, Manannan has had a great reliability record this season and plays an invaluable role in the Company’s day to day operation.

‘We constantly look for ways to improve services and respond to unforeseen circumstances so the decision to keep her here until after the busy Christmas period will provide an extra degree of support for our vital sea links at an important time of the year.’

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

corkweek sidebutton
tokyo sidebutton
roundireland sidebutton
wave regatta
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating