The Manannan fastcraft finally set sail on Sunday after it underwent extensive repairs to fix damage caused when it crashed into the harbour wall in Douglas on March 23.
The collision was caused by a systems failure, resulting from the ‘failure of a critical electro-mechanical component’.
The vessel had been in dry dock at Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead since last Tuesday.
iomtoday visited the Sea Terminal to find out people’s views on the crash, how the Steam Packet dealt with it and what plans should be in place in the future.
Josephine Harding, 83, Douglas:
‘I just think that there should be something on stand-by for it. I don’t know how people that were going away on it have gone on, how they’ve fared and what’s happened. My opinion is that there should always be something on stand-by. I only use the boats in the summer months to see my son. I don’t think [the service] is too bad when it’s working.’
Lisa Harrison, 44, Braddan:
‘My father was over here at the time it crashed and I sent a couple of emails to change his ticket. It took them a while to get back to me because it was, obviously, very busy. He got on the boat but he stood up all the way to Liverpool and he’s 72!
‘I don’t think they dealt with it too well, they should have had a bit more back-up. I think they need more boats and more flights because the flight prices went really high when it crashed.’
Danny Metcalfe, 34, Onchan:
‘I suppose they are limited in what they can do. Being the only ferry company on the island, there’s not much resource around so I suppose they’ve been doing what they can really. It’s unfortunate the way it’s happened and the impact has hit the island dramatically because, again, it is the only ferry service we’ve got.
‘They need to have something in place, we’ve only got two ferries we use at the moment. The company should probably look at branching out to other companies that can offer the service as well. The Steam Packet have a monopoly on the overseas ferry service.
‘I do know that their lease is coming up and there are talks of another liner coming in, but that depends on the redevelopment on the pier as to whether or not other liners can get in so we’ll see how it goes.’
Neill Whyte, 40, Glen Vine:
‘We were supposed to go over on Saturday because my wife is pregnant and we were supposed to go over for a scan in Liverpool. When the boat crashed we got told it was going to be back on Wednesday (March 30) so we would be fine for Saturday. It was literally at the last minute we were told it wouldn’t be ready until Sunday (April 3) and they didn’t have any space for us on any of boats so we had to cancel the trip.
‘They’re under a lot of pressure but I think they could have been a little bit more open. I think they knew before they told us that the boat wasn’t actually going to go, so I think if they were a bit more open and honest it would have gone down better, but it is what it is. It happened last year and it’s happened in previous years, they should have had something as a back-up measure. It just seems to be that they rely on the Ben-my-Chree and that’s the slow boat. They probably could have had better back-up plans but again these things are unforeseen.’
Rosanne Williams, 41, Groudle:
‘I was quite disappointed at the way it was handled because we were supposed to be going away on Sunday (April 3 ) and we were panicking because they said the boat was going to be ready for Wednesday, then it got moved to Sunday. I just felt it would have been a lot better if we had known in advance that it was going to be Sunday. Having small children it’s quite disappointing for them if we have to let them down at the last minute.
‘Communication wise I don’t think they dealt with it very well and I think they could have drafted in extra staff to help because there was a queue out of the door. They couldn’t cope with the volume of calls and inquires so I feel they could have maybe drafted in some extra help to deal with all of that. They definitely need (contingency plans), I think they need extra staff on stand-by, especially through the summer season and TT when there’s high volumes of travel.’
Karl Inglis, 27, Douglas:
‘The Steam Packet dealt with it terribly, in my opinion. They didn’t get a second ship quick enough to accompany all the passengers to travel, especially over the Easter period. There has to be contingency plans and also for when the weather is bad and they cancel ships because everyone panic buys and you can’t get the simplest of products. It’s the same for when they break down and go into dry docks. They don’t have any secondary ships or a plan even in force for when it happens. Maybe another boat or at least a plane should be there so people can use them just in case.’