Discussions are continuing to resolve the problem of delayed ferry sailings caused recently by lack of out-of-hours diving cover.
On Monday morning the Ben my Chree suffered almost an hour’s delay after rope became entangled in its propellers. The 2.15am sailing from Heysham last Sunday had to be cancelled because of the problem.
Just over three weeks ago the Ben my Chree suffered a similar problem when discarded fishing gear was found entagled in the boat’s propellers on a Sunday morning.
Again no diving cover was available because of changes introduced by the Department of Infrastructure. On this occasion the ship’s crew called for assistance from the visiting Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Brocklesby, whose dive team removed the tangled fishing gear.
The changes, introduced in March were estimated to produce a £35,000 per year saving after the department decided full out-of-hours cover was not required.
Following the latest incident, Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We met the Department of Infrastructure on Monday and the hope is that we can jointly arrive at a solution that works for both the Steam Packet Company and the DOI.’