Tynwald approves Isle of Man ferry deal terms

The Tower of Refuge and Ben-My-ChreeImage source, David Dixon/Geograph
Image caption,
The deal would see the Ben-My-Chree ferry replaced by the end of 2021

The terms of a new Isle of Man's sea services deal which could see foot passenger fares frozen and a ferry replaced has been approved by Tynwald.

The proposed 25-year deal with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company will give "significantly greater" control, the Department of Infrastructure said.

It includes plans to replace the Ben-my-Chree ferry by the end of 2021 and refurbish the catamaran Manannan.

The government said the final version of the deal will be published in May.

The Steam Packet Company was bought by the government in 2018, but is being run at "arm's length" from the administration.

Image source, Albert Bridge/Geograph
Image caption,
The deal would see a refurbishment of the high-speed Manannan catamaran

Under the new terms, foot passenger fares could be frozen for two years and children and full-time students would travel on half-price tickets.

It would see control of the linkspan on Victoria Pier, which connects the ferry to the harbour, transferred to the Department of Infrastructure, an extra weekly sailing to Liverpool added and crossings to Ireland moved to become more convenient.

Improvements would also be made to passenger facilities in Douglas and Heysham.

Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer said deal would give the department "significantly greater levels of strategic control over the provision of ferry services".

"It will enable us to further secure our strategic links for future generations and ensure that the island's ferry services continue to meet our needs for the next 25 years," he added.

The new deal, which will come into force on 1 January 2020, will be reviewed every five years.

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