Treasury Minister Dr Alex Allinson says he doesn’t know how often the Arrow is leased out, but he has no concerns over it being available when the Steam Packet needs it.

The Steam Packet’s purchase of MV Arrow, for €9m, was due to be completed this week.

Asked in Keys about the freight ship’s availability by Jason Moorhouse (Arbory, Castletown and Malew), Dr Allinson said: ‘The information requested is not held by Treasury and relates to the operations of the Isle of Man’s Steam Packet Company, a now government-owned entity operating at an arm’s-length basis.’

That rather set the tone for the short exchange, with Dr Allinson continuing to say the issues raised were ones for the Steam Packet and its board.

However, when Mr Moorhouse said he was concerned that the Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Clare Barber, just two weeks ago, said the Arrow would help with the island’s food security, but that Dr Allinson said he didn’t know when it was available for use. He asked: ‘Is there any indication that potentially this winter, if the other boats cannot sail, the MV Arrow could be on lease and we could have a major issue in this area?’

Dr Allinson told him: ‘I have no such concerns.’