The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has detailed its contingency plans for the Manannan ahead of the opening of the new ferry terminal in Liverpool.

The company's fast-craft vessel is due to start running trips to and from Merseyside by the end of March 2024.

Berthing trials at the new £70m ferry terminal are expected to start in the coming weeks with the Manannan given top priority for tests.

Under the training plan, it will be the first vessel in the fleet to moor to the new linkspan at the site.

The ferry firm's Managing Director Brian Thomson previously said that while the company are 'excited' about the prospect of using the new terminal, it has to be 'realistic about timelines' ahead of the planned opening of the facility.

And in a statement earlier this week, the Steam Packet revealed that there is a contingency plan in place for the Manannan to still be able to dock in Liverpool if trials fall outside those timelines.

The company confirmed that the Manannan's first sailings to and from Liverpool will take place via the company's existing terminal at Pier Head if trials and training are unable to be completed in time.

In a statement, Mr Thomson said: 'Taking a ship, particularly a passenger vessel, to a new berth for the first time is an involved process, and as we always say, safety is our top priority.

‘All being well, we are on schedule to commence operations from the new Isle of Man Government terminal in Spring 2024, but until the berth fit has taken place and we’ve started berth trials we won’t be in a position to commit to a firm date for the first sailing.’

'This has been a bigger project than most people expected and a lot has changed since it started out.'

Under the current scheme, 'berth fit' trials could start at the beginning of March.

If they go to plan, mooring trials and familiarisation training at the new facility could take place towards the end of that month.