|Posted on January 14, 2011 at 12:42 PM||comments (0)|
It has been recently announced by Mark Woodward (CEO) that the much loved Snaefell will no longer feature as an active member of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's fleet.
This decision has been made for various reasons. Although there has been a lot of comments around the internet saying that the decision has been made due to increased competition from Mezeron Line a lot of people haven't remembered that the Company was reviewing the Snaefell's place in the fleet during 2009, way before Mezeron brought in the Kalana and Kurkse.
Another reason why the Snaefell will not be returning to service is due to the fact that she is unable to carry large Motorhomes on her car deck which can restrict some areas of trade. As Manannan now has to cover the Irish routes the number of return journeys to/from Liverpool has been reduced.
Despite the Snaefell being taken out of service the overall capacity that the fleet can handle is now higher as the Manannan's capacity is higher than that offered by the Snaefell.
The Snaefell was the first major fast craft on Manx services and has spent a large proportion of her career serving the island. She is now 21 years old and it has to be remembered that the Lady of Mann was 29 years old when she was withdrawn so that shows just how old the Snaefell is getting.
On a personal note I would like to say that I think that the Snaefell has been a worthwhile member of the company's fleet. First being introduced on the routes in 1994 as the first major fast craft, she has been serving the Isle of Man for much longer than any other fast craft. As many problems as she may of had she was a brilliant little vessel and will be missed by many Steam Packet Enthusiasts.
Farewell Snaefell! You will be missed
|Posted on December 14, 2010 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
During the Sunday Opinion on Manx Radio Robert Quayle - Chairman of the Steam Packet - was interviewed and a lot of questions were asked and some were interesting. In some cases Mr. Quayle seemed confident that the company will beat off Mezeron Line but in other cases he seemed a bit unsure what to say or do. One thing that has got to cleared up is that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is not in debt as thought by many but the owners of the company are in debt. Currently the Steam Packet is running at a profit.
Here is the link and I would really recommend listening to it as it really interesting.
Scroll to the bottom and click on Sunday Opinion.
|Posted on December 14, 2010 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Today it has been announced that the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is due to raise its freight charges in the new year. In the notice that the company has provided it says that the reason for the increase in freight charges is due to the inflation rates.
This decision come as a surprise to many as it was expected that the company would reduce its freight charges opposed to increasing them. This could persuade more freight customers to use Mezeron Line, so maybe it is not be such a good idea to increase freight charges.
|Posted on December 8, 2010 at 3:26 PM||comments (0)|
The Isle of Man Travel Watchdog has been investigating the situation between the Steam Packet and Mezeron Line and it is concerned that the introduction of Mezerons new LO-LO daily service to Seaforth is going to have an effect on the frequency of the Steam Packet's sailings. Mezeron Line do not currently operate a passenger service. Although they have not ruled out the possibility of a passenger service they do not intend to invest in that yet. This means that if the Steam Packet do reduce the frequency of sailings then not only will freight customers be affected but passengers will be affected by the reduced service as well.
From observing the timetables for next year it appears that the company has reduced its service to England by offering 25 round trips per week opposed to 28 which was offered in 2010. This could be due to the company only using the Manannan next year and the Manannan would have to cover the Irish routes that would of been covered by the Snaefell in previous years.
It has been warned that not only will the frequency of the services be reduced but the number of special offers will reduce.
Personally I believe that this would only have a worse effect on the Steam Packets finacial circumstances as they would be saving money by not operating the vessels on such a regular service but they would be losing money as many of the foot passengers would choose to fly and the freight companies who have remained with the Steam Packet may be more tempted to use Mezeron Lines new service as the frequency would not be much different to that offered by the Steam Packet. Currently there are freight customers who have remained with the Steam Packet as the timings of their service fits in with the morning and afternoon arrival and departure of the Ben-my-Chree but if this schedule was to change then those freight customers who have been using the Steam Packet due to the timings of their service would probably try Mezerons cheaper service.
|Posted on November 30, 2010 at 2:07 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company released a statement clarifying what the media have been saying about the agreement that the Steam Packet and Mezeron apparently have. Read below for more details.
From Steam Packet Website.
'The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is aware of recent comments in the media that could imply the existence of some sort of agreement between itself and Mezeron on the transport of freight in the event of weather-related disruption.
The company wishes to clarify that no such agreement exists. In order to ensure the continuity of supply to food and other retailers, the Steam Packet Company has assisted with the transportation of goods when the Mezeron vessels have been unable to sail or have suffered lengthy weather-related delays.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chairman, Robert Quayle, said: 'There is no formal arrangement in place. The Steam Packet Company has no desire to see Isle of Man consumers experiencing shortages in the shops but the company is only able to accommodate late minute freight when there is deck space available. In the last few weeks the company has been in the position of being unable to carry freight for food retailers on some occasions as space allocated to to freight users has instead been allocated to passengers' vehicles.'
Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: 'For the last 12 years the Ben-my-Chree has provided a highly reliable and timely service for the Island's businesses and consumers. With a twice-daily service and reliability rate in excess of 99%, the Ben has enabled retailers to implement just-in-time delivery processes and the considerable benefits this brings for their businesses.'
|Posted on November 17, 2010 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
After a few days of settled weather in the Irish Sea the bad weather has made a fast return, as you can see from the shipping forecast. This has resulted in Stena Line delaying and cancelling some of their crossings and Steam Packet rival - Mezeron Line - have faced some issues. The Kalana anchored in the Bar last night and proceeded to Douglas, arriving in Douglas this afternoon. Upon arrival in Douglas it was decided that the weather was too rough and the decision was made to proceed to the North-West coast of the island to shelter and ride out the storm. However this was soon aborted and the crew of the Kalana took the decision to proceed back to Liverpool.
As I write she is currently en-route to Liverpool.
The Ben-my-Chree's sailings have been unaffected.
|Posted on November 16, 2010 at 1:01 PM||comments (0)|
Today staff from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company have held a protest against Mezeron Line and the service that they are providing.
The staff have been talking with the government and the government has made it clear that it has no intentions of buying the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, as before Mezeron introduced this new service the User Agreement was working well and the move by Mezeron cannot be stopped as there in no agreement stating that the Steam Packet have exclusive use of Douglas Harbour. What it does state is that the Steam Packet has exclusive use of linkspans in Douglas Harbour.
A few weeks back the Steam Packet chief executive announced that in the long term - if Mezeron continued to operate - the company may have to make 300 redundancies and this is where all of the above concern has rose from.
|Posted on November 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM||comments (0)|
Steam Packet staff have decided that although Mezeron are most likely to disappear with the next 12 months.
From Manx Radio
'A union official at the Steam Packet says the crisis facing the company following the recent introduction of a rival freight shipping service must be discussed by Tynwald as soon as possible.
Chief officer on the Ben-my-Chree Chris Bowen will be among the staff who will greet MHKs and MLCs as they arrive at Tynwald for tomorrow's sitting, with a call for an emergency debate.
Mr Bowen, the representative for the officers' union Nautilus, says the company has 300 worried employees, and the Island's ferry lifeline is under serious threat, because the Steam Packet's freight operation has always subsidised the ferry services.
He believes rival firm Mezeron could turn out to be a 'here today, gone tomorrow' operation, but says action is needed now'
|Posted on November 14, 2010 at 7:21 AM||comments (0)|
Here is a news article on the issue that Mezeron's Kalana ran into on her approach to Douglas on Thursday 11 November.
'ONE of Mezeron’s new vessels got into difficulties when her engine stopped as she was leaving Douglas harbour.
The Estonia-registered Kalana needed the assistance of pilot boat Girl Mary after sustaining a mechanical problem as she set off for Liverpool at about 1.30pm on Wednesday.
She tied up alongside Victoria Pier where checks were carried out and the engine restarted and she was heading off again within 30 minutes.
Harbour director Captain Michael Brew said: ‘There was some sort of mechanical problem. She was never in any danger. The weather was fine with little or no wind.’
The tug Wendy Ann also went to the Kalana’s assistance.
‘There was a bit of a flurry. It was an unfortunate glitch but she left within half an hour.’
The Kalana is one two Estonian-registered vessels brought in by Mezeron to operate its new cargo container service launched last month in competition with the Steam Packet'
|Posted on November 12, 2010 at 5:59 PM||comments (0)|
Just a quick reminder that the Ben-my-Chree is coming off her usual timetable tomorrow and Sunday in order to operate her winter Douglas-Birkenhead-Douglas route.
She is schedule to depart Douglas in the morning at 0800 with an Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) of 1215. She is then scheduled to depart Birkenhead at 1400 and has an ETA in Douglas of 1815.
If anyone out there is near the Mersey tomorrow would you mind getting some snaps of her and posting them on here.
|Posted on November 11, 2010 at 2:46 AM||comments (0)|
Due to adverse weather conditions in the Irish Sea all of todays sailings have been cancelled.
From Steam Packet Website.
DUE TO THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS IN THE IRISH SEA TODAY THE FOLLOWING SAILING HAVE BEEN CANCELLED:
ISLE OF MAN TO HEYSHAM AT 08.45AM AND 19.45HRS
HEYSHAM TO ISLE OF MAN AT 14.15HRS AND 02.15AM(FRIDAY)
CONTACT STEAM PACKET RESERVATIONS ON 08722 992 992 OR 01624 661661 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
|Posted on November 10, 2010 at 10:26 AM||comments (0)|
A few days after the weather started to calm down on the Irish Sea it turns against shipping again. Tonight more appalling weather is due to hit the Irish Sea. This weather is expected to effect the Ben-my-Chree's sailings.
From the Steam Packet website:
Current Weather Forecasts for the Irish Sea predict severe gale to storm force conditions for Thursday 11th November 2010 in to the early hours of Friday 12 November. We are advising passengers booked on the Douglas –Heysham 08:45 + 19:45 and also the Heysham – Douglas 14:15 Thursday + the 02:15 Friday 12 November that disruptions are probable. Passengers are advised to contact reservations on +441624 661661 or 08722 992992 to arrange alternative sailings.
|Posted on November 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM||comments (0)|
Over Sunday night and Monday morning weather in the Irish Sea deteriorated to such a state that the Steam Packet took it into their hands to cancel the Ben-my-Chree’s overnight sailing to and from Heysham.
On the other hand, Mezeron’s Kalana departed Seaforth for Douglas before the peak of the storm. In order to try to miss the worst of the storm she departed Seaforth a little earlier than normal and then made her way along the Welsh Coast and then turned to head towards the Isle of Man but the weather proved stronger and she diverted to anchor off Anglesey until the weather calmed down. It was not until the next morning that she arrived in Douglas. Her total crossing time was 12 hours.
The following morning the Ben-my-Chree was able to resume normal service.
|Posted on November 9, 2010 at 1:24 PM||comments (0)|
Last week the Manannan went into lay up in Alexander Dock, Liverpool with her older fleetmate Snaefell. Also over the weekend the Ben-my-Chree commenced the Winter Weekend sailings to and from 12 Quays, Birkenhead.
|Posted on November 9, 2010 at 1:02 PM||comments (0)|
As many of you will now probably be aware the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is receiving stronger rivalry from Mezeron Line. In previous months/years Mezeron have operated a service to and from Ramsey from Belfast and Glasson Dock with the Silver River and more recently the chartered Ingeborg Pilot. Following the success and profits made when the Ingeborg Pilot was operating Mezeron has chartered two much bigger vessels to supply a LO-LO service from Seaforth, Liverpool to Douglas. The vessels that have been chartered for this service are sister ships the ‘Kalana’ and ‘Kurkse’.
This move by Mezeron has caused major issues for the Steam Packet as within days of the new service commencing Tesco have taken the decision to have their good shipped to the island via Mezeron and Shoprite have started to use Mezeron to ship SOME of their goods to the island.
In response to the significant loss of freight the Steam Packet have turned to Tynwald to see whether they have any rights with the User Agreement that would either stop or reduce the service that Mezeron have started to provide. Tynwald have returned to the Steam Packet informing them that there has never been anything to stop such a service with the User Agreement therefore they cannot cease Mezeron’s operations.
Due to there being no law/agreement to stop Mezeron’s operations the Steam Packet have been handing out posters to both Shoprite and Tesco customers informing them of the ‘brilliant’ service that the Steam Packet currently provides. Also when the Steam Packet has been interviewed since the introduction of the new service they are now trying to win the public over by saying how many Manx people the Steam Packet currently employs and that Mezeron Line employ a full foreign crew.
Only time will tell what will happen but it seems things are unfolding fast.
On a personal note I do hope that the Steam Packet continues to operate and sees Mezeron off as there will never be a service to the island that the Steam Packet has and is supplying.