New sea services agreement signed

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Ray Harmer MHK, Minister for Infrastructure and Robert Quayle, chairman of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, sign the new Sea Services Agreement

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An historic new strategic sea services agreement between the Manx government and the Steam Packet has been signed.

The document, which replaces the user agreement and sets the direction of island ferry services for the next 25 years, was signed by Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer and Steam Packet chairman Robert Quayle on Friday.

In return for almost exclusive use of the island’s linkspans at Douglas harbour, the state-owned Steam Packet is required to invest in new vessels and provide regular services throughout the year.

The agreement, which is due to be published in a couple of weeks’ time, also sets out commitments on prices and discounts, apprenticeships and action to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Harmer said: ’Reaching this agreement has been a huge undertaking and I would like to thank everyone that has helped pull together this historic arrangement.’

Steam Packet chief executive Mark Woodward said: ’The new sea services agreement is a logical and timely replacement of the existing user agreement.

’It creates a strong long-term foundation from which to deliver continued investment that meets the needs of the island’s residents, businesses and visitors.’

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