Drop in TT ferry passengers for this year’s event

TT fans arriving at Douglas after their journey on the Manannan. Photo: Dave Kneen

TT fans arriving at Douglas after their journey on the Manannan. Photo: Dave Kneen

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Steam Packet ferries have carried 13,228 motorcycles and 35,500 passengers to the island during this year’s TT - but numbers are down on last year.

Ben-my-Chree and fast craft Manannan worked around the clock to carry fans to the island from Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin, with MV Arrow providing vital freight capacity to free-up Ben-my-Chree vehicle deck space.

But final figures are down on the 2015 TT as P&O no longer has fast craft Express available for charter. Motorcycle numbers were down by 6 per cent, although remained ahead of 2014 figures. Overall passenger numbers during TT are down 2 per cent on 2015.

Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We had previously advised that figures would be down for 2016 as P&O Express is no longer available to charter from Northern Ireland, and Manannan and the Ben-my-Chree had to operate Belfast services this year.

‘Suitable vessels for the ports we serve are simply not available for short-term charter, so we had anticipated this situation and taken steps to mitigate the impact.

‘Substantial investment in a removable mezzanine deck for Manannan created additional capacity to carry more motorcycles. Extra room for visitors and their vehicles was also made available on Ben-my-Chree thanks to the charter of MV Arrow, which took over freight duties.’

He said the charter of the MV Arrow has allowed has allowed the Steam Packet to carry 15 per cent more motorcycles than it otherwise could.

Mr Woodward said that in the first 10 hours of reservations opening for next year’s event, more than 3,500 bookings had been completed.

The Steam Packet’s offer to government for future sea services includes two replacement vessels and increased passengers capacity during TT.

‘This extra capacity is essential to allow the TT event to grow,’ said Mr Woodward.

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