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Ferry operator, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company believed it had been on the brink of agreement with the trade union Nautilus International, over new conditions for its crew, including on board the flagship Manxman introduced in August.

Manxman operates the year-round Douglas-Heysham route, providing an essential passenger and freight service to and from England.

The ferry operator owned by the Isle of Man Government, however claims the union had backed away from the negotiations, ahead of announcing it's to ballot its members over possible industrial action.

The Steam Packet wants its seafarers’ members to live aboard its vessels from 1 January, something officers have rejected.

As Manx Radio  yesterday reported, the Managing Director, Brian Thomson, felt that an end to the dispute had been in sight. Click also here to listen for an audio clip of the M.D.

Afloat adds on the 21 November, The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, issued a statement on its website publishing details of the offer made to the union, Nautilus, to provide further clarity to the public about negotiations regarding 'live-aboard' becoming the norm throughout the company’s fleet.

The statement can be read here.

Published in Ferry

Ferry crew working for the Isle of Man Steam Packet, BBC News reports are to be balloted on whether they would support strike action in a row over employment conditions.

Seafarers who are members of the trade union, Nautilus International will be balloted over plans to impose live on-board conditions on the new flagship Manxman operating Douglas-Heysham. The route is the island’s main year-round link connecting the Manx capital and Lancashire in north-west England.

Nautilus said the changes of having to live-on board the £78m flagship, would see employees lose 76 days a year with friends and family.
In response the Manx Government owned ferry operator said it was disappointed with the latest move.

Proposals from the ferry firm would see crew live on-board the 948 passenger capacity Manxman rather than go home to rest between shifts to and from Heysham for the first time in more than 20 years.

The operator of the 24,161 gross tonnes flagship, also said it would therefore be able to respond more flexibly to travel disruptions and bad weather, which is a claim the union said was "misleading".

More here on the development. 

Published in Ferry

The Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Alfred Cannan has been quizzed on the 'ethics and morals' of the ferry company's approach.

As ManxRadio reports, allowing the Isle of Man Steam Packet to operate at arm’s length is ‘vital’ – providing it’s operating within the law.

The chief minister has told the Manx Parliament (Tynwald) that there is no reason at this stage to interfere in operations of the ferry company’s business amid an ongoing dispute with a trade union, as Afloat reported previously involves Nautilus International.

At today’s sitting of Tynwald, eleven questions had been tabled on the Steam Packet dispute. 

In August the £78m newbuild flagship, Manxman was introduced on the Douglas-Heysham route. The 948 passenger/237 car capacity ferry currently maintains day-light sailings whereas the former flagship, Ben-My-Chree operates night crossings. 

Politicians have quizzed Cannan, about the involvement of the Council of Ministers in the negotiations and over claims of ‘fire and rehire’ of seafarers.

The southern Manx House of Key (MHK’s) Jason Moorhouse along with Juan Watterson questioned the involvement of government so far. To listen to the MHK’s, click here to a link from the radio station.

Published in Ferry

A trade union has raised worries in keeping ferry workers living on board the Isle of Man Steam Packet’s new flagship, Manxman, as part of proposed new conditions to their employment will affect the local economy and disband communities.

The trade union, Nautilus International which includes representing seafarers working on the £78m Manxman, has spent the last week on the Isle of Man to meet its members and gauge their feelings amid the ongoing dispute.

Nautilus have claimed the seafarers have been threatened with 'fire and rehire' something the Isle of Man Steam Packet has denied.

Speaking to Manx Radio, Senior National Organiser and head of the maritime department at Nautilus, Garry Elliot said they were taken aback by the strength of feeling among members and maintain the Steam Packet is being disingenuous.

Click here for a link to the audio clip of the Nautilus representative.

In August, Manxman made its maiden crossing from Douglas to Heysham, Lancashire in north-west England. The year-round operated route is the main passenger and freight life-line ferry route for islanders. 

Published in Ferry

The ferry operator, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is responding to suggestions that it is doing a “P&O” following last year’s sackings scandal when its workers were illegally dismissed.

As EnergyFM writes, P&O Ferries admitted to breaking the law when without notice, they sacked 800 seafarers on the 17th March, 2022. This was acknowledged by Peter Hebblewaithe, P&O Ferries CEO during a House of Commons Business and Transport Select Committee which was held in March also of last year, a week after the sackings took place in ferryports in the UK and Ireland.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet said it has negotiated with the unions, among them Nautilus International, for over two years and that it made a number of concessions and followed due process throughout.

Arising from the negotiations with the Douglas based operator, this led to one union, which represents about 70% of the sea going staff, to accept to the amended terms and conditions in exchange for a compensation package.

More from the radio station which also outlines a list of the package to workers of the ferry company.

Published in Ferry

Ferry operator Isle of Man Steam Packet Company hopes that the Arrow will take place in its role as a ro-ro freight carrier.

According to the Manx Department of Infrastructure (DoI), it is reviewing a request from the Isle of Man Steam Packet to replace the ropax Ben-my-Chree with the freightferry Arrow as the fleet's back-up vessel.

In the latest director's report, the company (which introduced newbuild Manxman last week) says it's hoping the DoI will agree to amend the Sea Services Agreement for such a move to take place.

The Sea Services Agreement currently requires the Steam Packet retain Ben-my-Chree on the Douglas-Heysem route, be kept as a back-up until the agreement expires in 2045.

Until recently, Ben-My-Chree was the flagship, however the 1998 built ropax was replaced with the £76m newbuild Manannan which entered service with a maiden crossing on the Isle of Man-England route.

Manx Radio has more on the operator's request.

Published in Ferry

The new Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's flagship which was built at an Asian shipyard has officially received its name.

At a ceremony held at the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) in Ulsan, South Korea, the newbuild ferry was christened as Manxman yesterday.

This is the Steam-Packet's third vessel in the company’s history to bear the name which has been painted in gold to mark the start of a first year of service with the company.

Such a tradition Afloat understands was last applied to the Lady of Mann (II) which remained in service until 2004.

Adhering to local South Korean custom, Geraldine Ugland, wife of the Chairman of the Board of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Lars Ugland, ceremonially ‘axed’ the vessel to signify its completion and naming.

ManxRadio has more on the story following final sea trials.

Published in Shipyards

According to Manx Radio, the ferry timetable for passengers using the new Liverpool terminal to serve the Douglas route is expected soon.

Due to an improvement in better weather conditions, work on the new Merseyside passenger reception buildings are pointing towards completion of the ferry terminal project.

The new ferry facility for the Isle of Man Steam Packet as Afloat previously reported, is being built by the UK arm of John Sisk & Co, the Irish building contractor.

Since the project began to build the terminal upriver from the existing Liverpool Landing Stage terminal, there have been a number of Manx Infrastructure Ministers.

The current minister, Chris Thomas has overall responsibility for the scheme which has gone considerably over budget.

In the House of Keys, the lower house of Tynwald (Manx Parliament), the minister was asked about the expected final costs, but Mr Thomas says it's too early to say.

To read more and to listen to his comments, click here to the audio links.

Published in Ferry

The delay in the arrival of a new ferry built for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company reports ManxRadio is due to a fault found in previous trials conducted in South Korea, Asia.

The Manxman which is to serve the island's main route of Douglas-Heysham from later this year, has recently resumed sea trials.

Manxman which was built by the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea, has been undergoing repairs after developing a gearbox issue during trials held earlier this year.

This had led to the delay of the newbuild's delivery voyage to the Isle of Man. The current main ferry, Ben-My-Chree which dates to 1998, will be replaced by the Manxman.

In a statement released by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co, they said that the Manxman's shipbuilders (HMD) are conducting routine sea trials to test the performance of the vessel and systems.

A team from the IOMSCo are on board the new build to observe and ensure that the ferry meets all design specifications.

Published in Shipyards

Ferry operator the Isle of Man Steam Packet (IOMSPCo) is to pay a £1m dividend to its Treasury shareholder for the first time.

In addition the Isle of Man Post Office will also have to pay £500,000 out of its profits.

Manx Treasury Minister, Dr Alex Allinson said the state-owned ferry operator had made a significant loss during the Covid pandemic

The IOMSPCo. however had now started to make a profit again and it was only right that the operator should pay a dividend.

The Minister told a pre-Budget press briefing: ‘It’s the first since it was purchased (in 2018). 

‘The reason Steam Packet was bought in the first place was because it was making around £20m profit a year and all of that was going off to overseas banks and hedge funds

Isle of Man Today has more . 

Published in Ferry
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