Storms lead to 'exceptionally unusual' Christmas Day ferry

The Sound The Met Office has predicted "severe gales" reaching up to 70mph over the Irish Sea

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will operate an "exceptionally unusual" Christmas Day sailing as storms continue to disrupt ferry services.

The Isle of Man Met Office has predicted "severe gales" reaching up to 70mph over the Irish Sea on Tuesday.

The 02:15 Heysham to Douglas sailing was cancelled and two other services are subject to delays of over 12 hours.

The 08:45 Douglas to Heysham is now set to sail at 21:00 while the 14:15 return is sailing at 03:00 on Christmas Day.

An Isle of Man Steam Packet spokesman apologised for the inconvenience to passengers and advised them to check its website for further updates.

He said: "It is exceptionally unusual to sail on Christmas day. I don't think it has happened since the late 1970s but we want to get people home for Christmas."

Sulby Claddaghs A woman became trapped in her car on Monday when a river burst its banks in the north of the island

Monday's 19:45 sailing from Douglas to Heysham was also cancelled due to the weather.

The ferry disruption had led to a backlog of mail but extra services have seen around 200,000 letters, cards and parcels delivered in time for Christmas, according to the Isle of Man Post Office.

A spokeswoman said it had been "exceptionally busy."

IOM Post has been working closely with Royal Mail and the Steam Packet Company to make sure deliveries were on time.

On Monday the island's fire service water rescue team helped to rescue a woman who became trapped in her vehicle after a river in the north of the island burst its banks.

The area of Sulby Claddaghs has been closed to the public with conditions described as "treacherous".

Ramsey and Kirk Michael crews and the Civil Defence Corps dealt with a number of calls to properties flooded in the north of the island on Monday.

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