Ferry services on the Isle of Man will be improved dramatically over the next 10 years.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company announced plans to invest £170 million into new vessels, port facilities and fare reductions.
The oldest vessel, the Ben-my-Chree, will provide comprehensive passenger and freight back-up to the fleet.
There would also be an increased passenger and freight capacity year-round and a frequent traveller scheme would be introduced, expected to benefit 10 times more passengers than the previous scheme which was discontinued some years ago.
Details were presented to members of Tynwald on Tuesday and released to the public the same day. They are currently available to view online at http://goo.gl/SwDjOw
A printed version is planned to be delivered to homes and businesses Island-wide in June. Copies will also be available from the Ferry Travel Shop at the Sea Terminal in Douglas.
We want to consolidate these benefits and provide a platform for further investment and improvements in service delivery for another generation. If a new Strategic Sea Services Agreement, to guarantee services beyond 2026, can be reached this year we will bring forward our planned investment. If an agreement is made this year, the Company is committed to delivering a replacement for Ben-my-Chree by 2019/21 and Manannan by 2022/23. MV Arrow would be retained as freight back-up until Ben-my-Chree is replaced, after which time the Ben would become the Company’s permanent third vessel. This gives the fleet comprehensive passenger and freight back-up, as well as additional capacity and self-sufficiency during the TT and Festival of Motorcycling.