The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has been forced to slash the number of Manxman sailings for the next two weeks.

Sailings on the ferry firm's flagship vessel will be halved to one a day from tomorrow (Wednesday),

The company says one of its officers has unexpectedly take leave due to personal reasons.

And due to Nautilus members' ongoing industrial action, 'no fellow officers will swap shifts or cover the absence via paid overtime,' according to the Steam Packet.

That means the Manxman will be undermanned for the next two weeks, forcing the company to implement a daily passenger sailing for 14 days.

The Steam Packet says it is deploying its reserve vessel, Arrow, to maintain overnight freight services. 

A spokesman for the Steam Packet said: 'While this will affect a relatively large number of sailings, from a customer perspective, the company has tried to minimise disruption by maintaining the more popular daytime sailings for passengers travelling to and from the Isle of Man.

'All passengers on affected sailings will be contacted by the reservations team and offered transfers or full refunds.

'Freight service will be maintained by Arrow for the period of the disruption.

'The Company will provide updates as and when it is able.'

From tomorrow and for the next two weeks., the only Manxman passenger sailing will depart from Douglas at 8am.

The vessel will then set-off from Heysham in Lancashire at 2.15pm.

During that period, the Arrow's freight service will depart from the Isle of Man at 5pm before returning from Heysham, at 1.30am the following day.