The Nautilus International union has confirmed that its members will continue to undergo strike action after the Steam Packet slashed half of its Manxman sailings over the next two weeks.

Sailings on the ferry firm's flagship vessel will be halved to one a day from today (Wednesday, January 3).

The company says the reason for this is that one of its officers has had to unexpectedly take leave due to personal reasons.

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

Nautilus has since re-affirmed its intention to continue the strikes. In a statement released on Facebook, it says: 'Nautilus is aware of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's need to introduce a contingency sailing schedule due to unforeseen short staffing and the ongoing industrial action short of a strike.

'The legal and proportionate action being taken by Nautilus members at the company will continue in response to the use of fire and rehire by the company to force through presently unacceptable contractual changes.

'We remain willing and available to discuss a resolution to the action short of strike with the company and encourage them to make a genuine offer that is acceptable to members.'

The Manxman is set to 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.