Displaying items by tag: Manx
#MANX FERRY – The IOM Today reports that the Manx Government is drawing up plans to ensure that any wind-farms built within the waters off the island would not affect ferry routes.
Work on the Isle of Man Marine Plan is under way and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture's director of environment Martin Hall said it was important it was completed in a 'timely manner'.
One of the plan's objectives would be to identify current activities in Manx waters and safeguard their ongoing use. Mapping the location of navigation corridors, important natural areas and pipelines/cables will enable the island to identify potential wind farm sites that will not adversely affect current uses of the Manx marine environment, including ferry routes and fishing.
The comments come following criticism from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company over Centrica's plans for a wind farm in the Irish Sea, outside Manx waters. The Steam Packet says that Centrica plans to develop in the path of two routes: Douglas-Liverpool and Douglas-Heysham, in spite of complaints from the ferry operator. For much more on this story click HERE.
The near 700-passenger capacity ship operated by UK based Voyages of Discovery is scheduled to call at several Scotish ports before returning to Portsmouth via the North Sea.
Discovery has eight decks with facilities to include two swimming pools, one with a retractable roof, jacuzzis, lounges, bars, a library and gymnasium, lecture theatre, cinema, restaurants, an internet cafe, shop, beauty salon and a medical centre.
She was built in 1971 as the Island Venture, then renamed Island Princess after purchased by Princess Cruises, alongside her sister Pacific Princess which appeared in the popular US TV series sitcom the 'Love Boat' broadcast by ABC between 1977-1986.
In total there will be four cruise-calls during the season to Douglas but the next visit will be not until July when P&O Cruises Adonia calls on the 17th. The ten-year old 710 passenger vessel is due to be named by Dame Shirley Bassey at a ceremony held in Southampton later this month.
Also calling to Douglas will be Oceania Cruises brand new 60,000 tonnes / 1,250 passenger Marina on the 24th July and the final call is to be made by Noble Caledonia's Japanese built Clipper Odyssey in mid-August.
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Manannan's chequered career included a five year charter initially to the United States Navy but transferred to the United States Army Forces between 2001-2006. The 5,029grt craft (see photo) was used for various trials and demonstrations and in which saw service in the Persian Gulf in support of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' and in 2003 'Operation Enduring Freedom' in the Horn of Africa.
An engine plant of 4 x Caterpillars diesel generates a speed of over 40 knots / 46 mph which provided logistical solutions by the High-Speed Vessel (HSV) to transport troops and supplies covering long distances in support of the Combined Joint Task Force.
Other tasks required by the force included the roles of operating as a mobile command centre which entailed working closely inshore and operating as a helicopter carrier. Helicopters landed at the craft's stern positioned helicopter landing deck.
The military role of the craft is in stark contrast compared to when the 96m ferry was launched in 1998 for civilian purposes as the Incat 050, the number representing the number of pioneering wave-piercing craft built by InCat in Hobart, Tasmania.
Asides her military days the 800-passenger / 200 vehicle fast-ferry has served the Hobart-Melbourne route, between New Zealand's north and south island and in European waters in the Mediterrean and to the Canary Islands.
Manannan (see photo) entered service last May after the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPco) purchased the vessel which was laid-up in Hobart. She made the long delivery to the northern hemisphere and was re-converted for ferry usesage during a refit in Portsmouth.
The 181 year-old company is the only sea-based passenger operator to the island on services linking Dublin, Belfast, Heysham, Liverpool and (Birkenhead) in the winter months.
There are rival companies such as the Ramsey Steamship Company but they are freight-only operators mostly running to Belfast and Liverpool using short-sea coastal traders and to other small Irish Sea ports.
An annual round island cruise is held and like last year the Manannan will be serving the cruise on Sunday 1 May departing Douglas at 11am for a journey of around 2 hours. The route closely circumnavigates the spectacular Manx coastline. For information on the island cruise and fares click here.