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The Ferry Man

Isle of Man newbuild in development

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Had an email from IoM Steam Packet todaywith another survey... however unlike BFs onboard wifi one, this one was a bit more intriguing...

Quote

We are pleased to launch a survey to gauge our passengers views as we prepare for major investment in our fleet.
 

With a new Sea Services Agreement fully operational from next year, plans are in place to secure a new purpose-built vessel which will be designed and built over the next two to three years to replace the services currently provided by our conventional ferry, Ben-my-Chree.
 

Island Global Research has been commissioned to carry out the survey, which focuses on on-board facility preferences and should take around 10-15 minutes to complete.
 

We naturally welcome comments from all members of the public as we plan which on-board facilities and services should be prioritised when we introduce a new vessel, so please do take the time to share your views following the link below.

http://news.steam-packet.com/_act/link.php?mId=C9208925164851441702420876372417&tId=402403569&subjId=410757

Not sure I have seen a survey for a newbuild before? So new vessel for IoMSP within two - three years!

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I just completed that survey. One thing that puzzles me is that I thought that this newbuild was due by end of 2021 and not up to a possible 3 years into the future. 

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Also I hope the Ben my Chree replacement is a significant improvement on the current vessel. More quality fittings and furnishings and hopefully a separate cafe rather than having the current arrangement where it is lumped into together with the main lounge. Also what about having a carvery restaurant to make it more of a holiday experience? Perhaps an onboard fit similar to what Irish Ferries offer would be great.

Ever since the MV Manx Viking of Manx Line,  which at the time was a very innovative and modern vessel for the Isle of Man, there has been nothing to the island that is better passenger facility wise. The King Orry had some good facilities but again much of the layout and design in the areas that weren't refurbished was very dated.

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Great shame IoMSP and Condor/BF haven’t cooperated on this project together.

I think that's a great idea, consider the cost negotiating when approaching a yard for three ships not one. Also as IOMSP is now government owned might I suggest that they would be more open to such a suggestion?

BF could bring a highly desirable design team into play too.

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Interesting times ahead - there is talk of the Ben-my-Chree being a third back up vessel to help cover IOM TT passengers in May/Juneas passenger numbers are increasing. 

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Days past to the Isle of Man when Sealink Manx Line was billed as the modern alternative. Will the new SPC vessel embody the same spirit and innovation I wonder?

Screenshot_20191130-163305_Chrome.jpg

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Manx Line the reason why the main IoM service now runs from Heysham rather than Liverpool.  Not necessarily an improvement.

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38 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Manx Line the reason why the main IoM service now runs from Heysham rather than Liverpool.  Not necessarily an improvement.

But Liverpool will only soon become a satisfactory port for a multi purpose ro ro pax service with the new berth under construction. Back in the 80s the only ro ro berths were in docks which were time consuming in entering and leaving, totally unsuitable for an express daytime service to Douglas. Goodness knows where the Steam Packet were planning to run their Mona's Isle from.....we'll never know as the merger with Manx Line happened soon after.

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4 hours ago, Nick Hyde said:

But Liverpool will only soon become a satisfactory port for a multi purpose ro ro pax service with the new berth under construction. Back in the 80s the only ro ro berths were in docks which were time consuming in entering and leaving, totally unsuitable for an express daytime service to Douglas. Goodness knows where the Steam Packet were planning to run their Mona's Isle from.....we'll never know as the merger with Manx Line happened soon after.

The I.O.M ferries used to berth right next to the Liver Buildings at the Pier Head and used the same floating landing stage as the Mersey Ferries. Vehicles used to assemble in the old Princes Dock railway station (minus the rails) and drive down a linkspan from Princes Parade to board via the port side. It wasn't much different to how the HSC is served now.

They were still there in '84 as a few of us 16 year olds on our Suzuki ER 50 hair dryers watched all the big bikes go over for the TT... we all followed my dad down on his BMW R80... there was hundreds of them from all over Europe, nothing like the smell of Castrol R in the evening! 

I think they moved to Heysham in the mid '80's, I remember going home once when I was 18 in '86 and I'm sure they were gone by then.

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The move to Heysham coincided with the merger with / takeover of (can’t remember exactly what happened from that point of view) Manx Line.  My recollection is that Mona’s Isle (FE3) was brought in to take over the Heysham route from Manx Viking.  She was a complete disaster.  In fact, a vessel with a fairly sad history in general.  (One of the five former TT vessels that became wrecked around the world.)

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The Mona's Isle was purchased quite a few months before the merger was announced so I do not know for sure if Steam Packet were originally intending to use her from Liverpool to compete against the Manx Line operation from Heysham. It could have been when when her purchase was announced in late 1984 that it was a foregone conclusion the merger was happening anyway (this wasn't announced until Jan / Feb 1985) or she could have been a stick or bargain chip that led to the merger. We will never know.

In the end the Mona's Isle operated from Heysham in tandem with the the Manx Viking in 1985. Manx Viking then survived another year from Heysham into 1986, this time operating with the Antrim Princess (later renamed Tynwald) - a ship that replaced the disastrous Mona's Isle. 

 

17 minutes ago, Gareth said:

 

 

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Interestingly if the merger with Manx Line and Steam Packet had not happened in 1985, the Steam Packet which already had perelious finances in early 1985 would have surely gone under by mid 1985 operating that totally unsuitable Mona's Isle ferry. With her inability to carry the freight loads she was meant to, windage problems with the newly added aft accommodation block, she would have been a total liability. Sealink Manx Line, newly privatised and under the directorship of James Sherwood, was desperate to make the IOM toute pay so agreed to the merger, but if he knew he hindsight how bad that Mona's Isle vessel was going to be and not agreed to merge, things could have been very different.

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I have always thought they should slow the overnight service speed down and market it as a mini cruise, or at the very least avoid late arrival/early departure and allow a good nights sleep.

An 11pm departure (with early boarding) and a normal 8 or 9am arrival would be great, especially if done on a modern vessel with adequate facilities.

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2 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

I have always thought they should slow the overnight service speed down and market it as a mini cruise, or at the very least avoid late arrival/early departure and allow a good nights sleep.

An 11pm departure (with early boarding) and a normal 8 or 9am arrival would be great, especially if done on a modern vessel with adequate facilities.

And how does the rest of the schedule pan out with this plan?

(Reduction of service to one sailing per day in each direction or maintaining 2 per day with a second vessel?)

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14 hours ago, Gareth said:

And how does the rest of the schedule pan out with this plan?

(Reduction of service to one sailing per day in each direction or maintaining 2 per day with a second vessel?)

Exactly - this would cause serious problems for return sailing schedules and I honestly don't think marketing a "mini Cruise" would attract more passengers. As for a good nights sleep ????

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2 hours ago, Manxscorpio said:

Exactly - this would cause serious problems for return sailing schedules and I honestly don't think marketing a "mini Cruise" would attract more passengers. As for a good nights sleep ????

Yep I think the route length and market is not right for the overnight mini cruise market. Still would be a very appealing service concept for some.

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If 'The Ben' will be kept as a relief vessel I think it would make a fantastic option for a slower mini cruise service attracting people from the north west.

Departing from Heysham at 11pm with early boarding, cruising at 5 knots arriving at a modest 9am. Passengers have the day on Mann before a similar return departure.

I would certainly do it.

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Nice idea and not dissimilar in concept to the PA Roscoff-Cork trip out Friday night and back Sunday morning, albeit with more time ashore. The problem is that you can't then repeat it the next day as the ship is out of position time-wise. Ed. 

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Yes but she has to cover four countries and five ports in a single week so the context is somewhat different. Le Quiberon's idea above would work better as a full weekend away, particularly given the size of the Isle of Man and the number of things worth seeing. Out Friday and back Monday with the ship either laying over in Douglas as a floating hotel and garage or doing alternative routes during the weekend. Ed. 

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9 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

If 'The Ben' will be kept as a relief vessel I think it would make a fantastic option for a slower mini cruise service attracting people from the north west.

Departing from Heysham at 11pm with early boarding, cruising at 5 knots arriving at a modest 9am. Passengers have the day on Mann before a similar return departure.

I would certainly do it.

Still can't see Ben being used for a mini cruise - limited number of cabins - limited outside deck area. She is fine for an A to B sailing with a vehicle and passengers but night crossings are uncomfortable to be sat in the lounge with little or no sleep. 

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