THE Ben-my-Chree's damaged bow thruster will be replaced in April next year.
Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK has confirmed that the replacement of the bow thrust unit will take place as part of scheduled maintenance and dry docking work.
The Ben-my-Chree's bow thruster unit failed in May this year.
Arrangements to dry dock the ship in June and then in September had to be cancelled after the manufacturers, Wartsilla, failed to complete the necessary repairs.
As a result further dry docking time was booked this month and for January next year but this has also been cancelled because Wartsilla again failed to meet its delivery date.
Mr Cretney said: "Dry dockings are subject to dry dock availability and vessel cover availability but the Steam Packet Company has confirmed that the replacement of the repaired bow thrust unit will be included in its scheduled maintenance and dry docking for Ben-my-Chree in April 2012 – the arrangements for which are all in place."
Mr Cretney has circulated this information to the Members of the House of Keys after questions were raised in this week's sitting.
South Douglas MHK Kate Beecroft wanted to know if it was only bad weather that had forced recent cancellations or if it was because of problems with the bow thruster.
Supplementary questions were also raised at the time asking about technical matters surrounding the ship.
Mr Cretney has today (Thursday) sent all of the Members of the House of Keys, and the media, a letter containing information on wind speeds, tugs, the User Agreement, dry docking and the bow thruster.
He has also confirmed that the Ben-my-Chree has no other technical issues.
He said: "The department is pleased to acknowledge that the Steam Packet Company has been open and transparent with respect to the problems surrounding the failure of one of Ben-my-Chree’s bow thrust units.
"The Steam Packet Company has confirmed that there are no other underlying technical issues affecting the performance of the ship."
Mr Cretney also added that it would be helpful if any Members who had questions about the Steam Packet Company contacted him "in the first instance" so that a "properly considered and informed response can be provided".
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below: