Negotiations are continuing to resolve problems with out-of-hours diving cover for the island’s ferry services after the Ben-my-Chree sailings were twice disrupted after rope and debris became tangled in its propellers.
Because no government commercial diving team is available on stand-by at the weekend or out of hours the problem could not be rectified quickly. Most recently this resulted in the cancellation of Sunday sailings and a delayed Monday morning departure to Heysham while work was carried out.
When the problem occurred at the start of July the Royal Naval diving team who were visiting the island as part of the Tynwald day celebrations, carried out the work and allowed the ship to sail.
Harbours and airport director Ann Reynolds said she was were not aware of any suitable commercial diving services in the island other than the DoI team which currently offers no out of hours cover at all. She said the Steam Packet paid a fee for their services on an ad hoc basis and they hoped to resolve matters shortly.
Steve Cowley, of Discover Diving in Port St Mary, which offers both leisure and commercial diving services said all commercial diving was understandably controlled by red tape and this was not exceptional.
‘You need to be able to provide things like risk assessments and method statements and there has to be communication between the diver and surface team, so there is some but it’s not insurmountable,’ he said.
‘There are set codes of practice for commercial diving that we have to adhere to and it’s not cheap. I hate to think how much it costs to run the DOI team per year,’ he said.