Packet’s new freight ship takes to sea

MV Arrow pictured in Douglas on Tuesday

MV Arrow pictured in Douglas on Tuesday

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The Steam Packet’s new freight vessel has begun operations to Heysham while the Ben-my-Chree is in dry dock for planned maintenance.

MV Arrow, which has been secured on a long-term charter, will cover for the Ben for three weeks while she is overhauled and refurbished.

During this time the fast craft Manannan will be covering both Liverpool and Heysham passenger sailings.

MV Arrow will also boost the fleet during the TT fortnight and at other times of peak demand as well as being called into service if the Ben sustains damage or technical problems. It will provide freight services from June 19 to 21 while the Ben is being refitted with a repaired stabilising fin.

The Steam Packet secured the long-term charter of 7,606-tonne freighter from Seatruck in September last year. The agreement includes an option to purchase if necessary.

Packet chief executive Mark Woodward has confirmed the company will be looking to replace both the 16-year-old Ben and the Manannan as part of the renegotiation of the user agreement with the Manx government - preferably before the current agreement comes to an end.

The current user agreement expires in 2020 with an option to extend it to 2026.

Mr Woodward said it would take three years from design to delivery.

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