Manx Lifeline

185 years 1830 - 2015





The Fleet  in 2015

Ben-my-Chree (6) 2010 after her refit in 2009



Super Fastcraft  Manannan (1)

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company would like to announce that following the successful refinancing of the business by a group of banks led by Banco Espirito Santo, a new ownership structure is now in place.

The share capital of the company previously owned by a number of Australian pension funds and Macquarie has been transferred instead to Sealion (Isle of Man) Ltd, a company owned by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s banks. As of 8th April 2011, the previous owners have no ongoing financial interest in the Company.

A new corporate structure will subsequently be put in place that will simplify the current tiered multi-level structure of the organisation.

The refinancing arrangement provides a long-term commitment from the new owners. The Steam Packet Company can now move forward on a stable footing enabling the Island-based management team to focus on delivering frequent, reliable, value-for-money services to both freight customers and passengers.

What will this change in ownership mean for the Isle of Man?
The new owners, in the form of the bank group, have worked with the business since 2005 and remain committed to the ongoing successful operation of the business. The Steam Packet Company will therefore continue to provide the lifeline freight and passenger services secured under the User Agreement with Government.

Will services be affected?
A review of operations was undertaken in late 2010/early 2011 taking into account the effect upon the business of increased Mezeron competition. At that time it was announced that Snaefell would be withdrawn from the operational fleet and that fast craft services would be provided exclusively by Manannan.   Manannan provides passengers with greater levels of comfort and sea-keeping abilities. The exclusive use of Manannan instead of the smaller Snaefell also means that capacity on all routes has increased.  The Ben-my-Chree will continue with her reliable twice-daily service.
It is not envisaged that there will be further alterations to services as a result of the change of ownership.

Will the User Agreement still be in place?
The User Agreement will remain in force. Its benefit to passengers has been clearly demonstrated in recent months as it has safeguarded frequent value-for-money passenger and freight services.

What has happened to Macquarie/other shareholders?
Macquarie and the Australian pension funds are no longer shareholders in the business, their shareholdings having been transferred to the new owners. They have no further financial interest in the business.

Will there be redundancies or pay cuts?
There was some small scale redundancy and reorganisation at the start of the year to reflect the current commercial circumstances under which the Company is operating.

Will the new owners be trying to cut back even more on services and raise prices to increase profits?
The new owners are a group of banks focused on providing a long-term solution to allow the Company to operate in a stable financial environment. The prices are regulated by the User Agreement and the owners have a vested interest in adherence to the terms of the User Agreement.

Will prices increase?
Prices are regulated by the User Agreement and can only be increased by agreement with the Department of Infrastructure and by Manx RPI each year.

Are the new owners putting the Steam Packet Company up for sale?
The new owners have indicated there is no current intention to sell the Steam Packet Company and have put in place long-term debt arrangements to support the Company and its ongoing operations.



Isle of Man Steam Packet in 2010

15 September 2010
Children from a Douglas school have been learning how to travel by sea with the help of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

13 September 2010
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company passengers have raised almost £14,000 for medical and rescue equipment used around the TT course.

19 August 2010
A team of young Island footballers enjoyed a dream trip to Wembley thanks to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.


11 August 2010
Further to the update of Wednesday 4th August, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company wishes to confirm that services will continue to operate to the schedule advised last week.

Latest News

04 August 2010
Further to our update of 28 July, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company wishes to confirm that services will continue to operate as advised last week.


28 July 2010
Further to our update of 20 July, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company wishes to advise passengers of engineering activity and specialist assessments since that date.


20 July 2010
Following the technical issues on both Manannan and Snaefell, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has been carrying out a review of its operations and wishes to update passengers on the progress of repairs and the implications for some sailings.


19 July 2010
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is making a change to its fleet deployment as a result of a technical issue with Snaefell.


30 June 2010
On her last sailing, Manannan engineers encountered a mechanical problem with one of the four engines. Due to their professional and timely intervention, serious damage was prevented. However, essential repair work to the engine is now necessary.


14 June 2010
The Ben-my-Chree will be hosting the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s first round-the-Island trip of 2010.
e excursion, which offers a fantastic way to enjoy the Island’s magnificent coastline, will take place this Saturday (June 19).


02 June 2010
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is pleased to announce that it is providing support to local motorcycle racing star Dan Kneen. ( My nephew )



The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is launching its spring fast craft schedule on Friday (March 26).

With the Ben-my-Chree due back on the Heysham route on Friday, following an extensive three-week refit, Manannan will be starting the Company’s fast craft schedule with a 07.30 sailing to Liverpool Pier Head.

Manannan will be assisted on the Liverpool route by Snaefell, which will enter service in late April, and will also cover the Belfast and Dublin routes.

Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Manannan has provided an excellent service on the mid-week Heysham route while the Ben-my-Chree has been in dry-dock, and has carried some freight and coach traffic in addition to cars and foot passengers.

‘With the Ben due back in service on Friday, our spring fast craft service is about to start in earnest, offering passengers an excellent way of travelling directly to Liverpool city centre at convenient times and at a competitive fare without extra

baggage charges or debit card fees. With a crossing time of just 2 hours 30 minutes, a Manannan 07.30 sailing is just the ticket, as passengers can be in Liverpool city centre for 10.00 in the morning, ready for a shopping trip, weekend away or a short break.

‘For passengers who wish to travel further afield, our Sail and Rail facility offers passengers even greater choice at highly attractive fares. Passengers can book their ferry ticket and an onward train journey throughout the UK rail network at the same time at our Ferry Travel Shop. The staff there will be delighted to help passengers plan a trip away.’

Foot passenger ferry fares start at £18.50 for a single journey and the Steam Packet Company does not apply debit card fees or baggage charges. In addition, there are no tightly prescribed baggage restrictions.




With volcanic ash once again causing disruption to air passengers, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is operating Manannan on Wednesday’s Liverpool sailings instead of Snaefell.

The Company has seen passenger numbers for these sailings increase steadily during the day. Bringing Manannan into service has increased passenger capacity for those wishing to travel to and from the Island today.

Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: “With Snaefell nearing capacity on today’s 1530 sailing, in the interests of passenger comfort we have taken the decision to operate Manannan instead. This will also provide the reassurance to passengers wishing to travel on that sailing or the return sailing to the Island at 1930 that the Steam Packet Company has increased its passenger carrying capacity at this time of higher demand. I am pleased that Manannan has once again been able to step in to provide a reliable high capacity service to Island residents and visitors.”



Further information  see  27 March 2010   by  acknowlegments to the steam-packet for photos and information from their web-site.



Isle of Man Steam Packet in 2007

Extra Fast Craft for Steam Packet Company


The Steam Packet Company is pleased to announce the charter of the fast craft vessel Emeraude France which will be a direct replacement for Sea Express 1.


For the last few years the Steam Packet Company has operated one fast craft SuperSeaCat Two during the summer months, but two Fast Craft were planned for 2007 to try and increase Irish and Liverpool visitor numbers. 


As well as operating SuperSeaCat 2 and Ben-my-Chree during the peak season 2007, the charter of this additional Fast Craft will allow the company to maintain its expansion plans for the 2007 season. Emeraude France will be brought into service prior to the TT period and will be used to operate the improved Irish schedules from June until September 2007.


Emeraude France was formerly named Seacat France and is a sister ship to Sea Express1. Currently berthed in Tilbury, she has a capacity for 450 passengers, 74 cars, and will undergo preparation in Merseyside before coming into operation. The chartering of Emeraude France  to operate the improved Irish timetables also allows the Steam Packet Company to maintain it’s plan to offer more frequent and conveniently timed sailings between Douglas and Liverpool, with twice daily sailings throughout the Summer period.


Following her annual overhaul Superseacat Two will re-commence her daily spring schedule between Douglas and Liverpool Pier Head from March 23rd. The  Ben-my-Chree will continue sailing to the River Mersey Twelve Quays terminal for the coming weekend. Her sailings will depart from Douglas at 0800 arriving at 1215. The return journey will depart Liverpool at 1400 and arrive back in Douglas at 1815


For fares and route information passengers should log onto


The Steam Packet Company, the Isle of Man’s trusted carrier since 1830.


Issued 13/03/07 acknowledgement to the Isle of Man Steam-Packet


For further enquiries please contact  the Steam Packet Company
Tel 01624 645637


Updated  19th March 2009




Isle of Man Steam Packet in 2005

THE FUTURE …  2005

Media Release  19 October 2005


ACQUIRED BY MACQUARIE 19 October 2005 - The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (“Steam Packet”) today announced it has been acquired by Macquarie Bank Limited (“Macquarie”) from Montagu Private Equity.The Steam Packet will benefit from this organisation's ability to provide vessels to serve specific routes at specific times.

The Lady of Mann has been sold to SAOS Lines who operate mostly in the Aegean. She has been renamed Panagia Soumela and is being converted into a stern loader.

           The following three photos are from Web-sites “ Ships of Man” Steam-packet and “Merseyside shipping “: acknowledgements to them

Ben-my-Chree   ( 6 )


Superseacat  Two

Sea Express 1

The Steam Packet fleet now consists of the Ben-my-Chree, Sea Express 1 (ex Seacat Isle of Man) and the Superseacat Two which is on long term charter from Sea Containers. The future of Sea Express 1 is uncertain. She is being prepared as we speak for further service but it is not known if she will revert to her old name. Sea Express 1 was of course the name given to her when she was chartered this year to the ill fated Irish Sea Express Ltd for their Liverpool to Dublin service.

Rapide has not been on the Irish Sea since 2002 when she served the Troon to Belfast route. She was last with the Steam Packet in 2001. More recently she has been on the Dover -Calais service but that also has been withdrawn by her owners, Sea Containers.

 Acknowledements to the Isle of Man Steam-Packet  20th December 2005 . & Ships of Mann February 2009



Isle of Man Steam Packet in 2001

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, was founded in 1830 and has provided regular crossings between the mainland England and the Island ever since. In 2000, the Company, celebrated 170 years of continuous operations and that year was marked by the 25th anniversary of entry into service of the ferry Lady of Mann  she went on to serve another four years.



In July 1998 the Steam Packet’s newest ship began operations on the Douglas to Heysham route. The vessel, Ben-my-Chree the sixth so named, is also the largest ship the company has ever operated. The ship operates four trips a day, two in each direction, every day of the year except Christmas Day, to provide the Isle of Man with an essential and reliable mainland link.

Ben-my-Chree is based on the standard design for a flexible-pax ferry and can be operated as a pure freight ferry or as a combined car/passenger ferry. The vessel features a total trailer lane capacity of approximately 1,235m but is used by the Steam Packet for freight, cars and passengers. The vessel is of all-welded steel construction with a bulbous bow and transom stern. Double bottom sections are arranged between fore and aft bulkheads Vehicles can be accommodated on Decks. 3 and 5. Access to Deck 3 is provided by a stern ramp/door and from Deck 3 to Deck.5 by means of a hoistable ramp.

Particulars – Ben-my-Chree

Built 1998 Van der Giessen de Noord, Netherlands, yard no.971

Tonnage 4,168 dwt, 12,504 gt, 3,751nrt

Dimensions Length 125.2m, breadth 23.4rn, design draught 5m

Capacity 395 passengers, 20, 4-berth cabins, 80 persons, 3 decks, 303 cars

Complement 15 crew

Machinery 2 MaK 9M32 medium-speed diesels, 4,32OkW, two bow thrusters of 900kW each, speed 19 knots

Route Heysham-Douglas

Flag, Isle of Man

The vessel can carry up to 500 passengers in day accommodation on short voyages, but on the Irish Sea the Steam Packet tries not to exceed 350 passengers per crossing to ensure an adequate level of comfort.

Ben-my-Chree is powered by, two MaK medium-speed, non-reversible diesel engines, each having a maximum continuous rating of 4,32OkW at 600rpm. Each main engine drives a propeller via a Renk reduction gearbox. Electric power comes from three 515kW auxiliary driven alternators, two 1,16OkW driven alternators and one 24OkW emergency alternator set. During manoeuvring, electric power for the bow thrusters is derived from the two auxiliary alternators.


Ben-my-Chree is a modern ro-pax ferry, which has given smooth and efficient operation since entering service. Built to serve a different age and market from the side-loading car ferries of which Lady of Mann  was the last example, she rarely runs late except when caught in severe weather in the Irish Sea. She has achieved a sailing performance of some 97 per cent since being introduced onto the route, and sailings are rarely cancelled. Although a force 9/10 gale would not necessarily result in a cancelled sailing, crossing in such conditions is uncomfortable for both passengers and crew, while the berthing procedure at either Douglas or Heysham in severe weather can be difficult and possibly dangerous.

When leaving port, once loading of passengers and vehicles is complete, the Captain is informed that the bow doors are secure and the vessel is ready for sailing. The usual checks to radio, radar, navigation equipment and other machinery then take place before the vessel sets out. During the crossing, a minimum of two crew have to be on the bridge.

Douglas and Liverpool, and each port has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, at Heysham, because the port is becoming increasingly busy, it is important that the ship arrives on time so that her scheduled slot is available. and knows how much room to allow when turning the ship, and swings her round onto the berth ready for unloading with a practised case.

While some may argue that Ben-my-Chree does not have the character or graceful lines of her predecessors i.e.the  Lady of Mann her reliability, capacity and speed have brought a new dimension to crossings to the Isle of Man and she has many more years of regular service ahead.

The above article and photographs supplied by the “Ships Monthly” magazine with acknowledgements  in 2001

Latest update  6th January 2014



Classic Packets of the Past – Part 1


Above photo: acknowledgements to Stan Basnett and Steam-Packet Co: for photo & information

Monas Queen 5 official # 307621 steel twin-screw steamer 10 cyl. Piestick diesel motor ship, built Ailsa shipbuilding Co: Ltd. Troon; yard #533 UK. Gross Tonnage 2998 Speed 21 knots, overall length 104. 45m. Breadth 16. 74 m. launched 22 Dec 1972 cost £2,100,000   final voyage 3 September 1990. She was sold to a Manila company and renamed Mary the Queen.  

Acknowledgements to Steam-Packet Co: for following photographs and information

King Orry 5   ex Channel “Entente” steel twin screw Pielstick diesel motor ship, built in Italy gross tonnage 4649 speed 19 knots length 114.     59 m breadth 18. 62 m, launched 26 February 1972 cost £4.15 million acquired by I of Man SP Co 14 February 1990 renamed King Orry 1990 was in service till the new Ben-my-Chree came into service.

Ben-my-Chree 5   official # 186355 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK, yard # 1320. Gross Tonnage 2762 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 104. 83m. Breadth 16. 13 m. launched 10 Dec 1965 cost £1,400,000 maiden voyage 12 May 1966. Final voyage 19 September 1984.

Manxmaid 2     official # 186352 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK, yard  # 1303. Gross Tonnage 2724 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 104. 83m. Breadth 16. 16 m. launched 23 Jan. 1962 cost £1,087,000 maiden voyage 23 May 1962. Final voyage 9 September 1984.

Manxman 2       official # 186349 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK, yard  # 1259. Gross Tonnage 2495 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 11m. Breadth 15. 24 m. launched 8 Feb 1955 cost £847,000 maiden voyage 21 May 1955. Final voyage 4 September 1982.

Monas Isle 5    official # 165288 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK, yard  # 1209. Gross Tonnage 2491 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 16m. Breadth 14.38 m. launched 12 Oct. 1950 cost £570,000 maiden voyage 22 March 1951. Final voyage 27 Aug 1980.

Snaefell 5     official # 165287 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK, yard  # 1192. Gross Tonnage 2489 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 11m. Breadth 14.38 m. launched 11march 1948 cost £504,448 maiden voyage 24 July 1948. Final voyage 29 Aug 1977.

King Orry 4    official # 165282 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK. yard  # 1169. Gross Tonnage 2485 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 19m. Breadth 14.38 m. launched 22 Nov. 1945 cost £402,095 maiden voyage 18 Jan. 1946. Final voyage 31 Aug 1975.

Monas Isle  6   Had a very brief history , she lasted only six months in service with the Steam-Packet  in 1985 : acknowledgements

To “Ships of Mann” magazine  for the photo 2013.


Above photo: acknowledgements to “ Ships of Mann” and I. of Man Steam-Packet Co: for information

Tynwald 5 official # 165284 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK yard  # 1184. Gross Tonnage 2487 Speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 12m. Breadth 14.38 m. launched 24 July 1947 cost £461,859 maiden voyage 31 July 1947. Final voyage 26 August 1974


Mona’s Queen 4 official # 165283 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Camel Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK yard  # 1170. Gross Tonnage 2485 speed 21. 5 knots, overall length 105. 16m. Breadth 14.38 m. launched 5 February 1946 cost £411,241 maiden voyage 26 June 1946. Final voyage 16 September 1961.

No photo available in colour but reliable sources say . There were six sisters in all; King Orry,(1945) Mona's Queen, (1946) Tynwald (1947), Snaefell (1948), Mona's Isle(1951) and Manxman (1955). Reference the differences in window arrangements on the shelter deck. Tynwald carried the big windows right forward while King Orry and Mona's Queen had four small windows forward instead. However all six sisters had detailed differences, even the Mona's Queen and King Orry. None of them were identical.

 Ben-my–Chree 4

Acknowledgements below to Isle of Man Steam-Packet Company for the “Ben-my-Chree (4) Photo:


Ben-my-Chree 4 official # 145304 steel twin-screw steamer geared turbines built and engined at Cammell Laird & Co. Ltd Birkenhead UK yard  # 926. Gross Tonnage 2586 speed 22. 5 knots, overall length 111.56m. Breadth 14.02 m. launched 5 April 1927 cost £200.000 maiden voyage 29 June 1927. Final voyage 13 September 1965.


Lady of Mann (1)  “The Flag-Ship “ of the fleet   1930 -1971

Acknowledgements to Isle of Man Steam Packet and the "Sea Breezes" Magazine Vol 71 December #624 pages 982 - 987. Also to Jane Coomer and the Manx Museum in 2001 for their kind donation of information also Capt, B.M. Leek’s story 



Tonnage: 2,029 gross, 1,258 net     Signal letters: LGCQ      Livery Hull: white post 1930 and until 1939.

Length: 372 feet 9 inch OA, 360 feet BP Builders: Vickers- Armstrong Barrow, boot top reddish brown.

Breadth:  50ft 2inch moulded      Builders yard: # 660   Superstructure:  white lifeboats white.

Draught:   13 ft 0.25 inch @ SLL     Machinery:  Geared Turbines     Ventilators: white.  

Port of registration: Douglas, Isle of Man.  Engines output: 11,500 shp    Masts white. 

Official # 145307    Speed: 22.5 knots   funnel: black cowled top with red below carrying 2 black bands.


The Isle of Man Steam Packet Co’s "Lady of Mann' (1) of 1930 to 1971

By Capt. B.M. Leek

The time of her building the ship was the largest owned by the company and it was fitting that she was commissioned in time to commemorate their centenary. In fact she was known as the Centenary ship, and with affection by Islanders and travellers alike, as 'the Lady". The ship was built by Vickers Armstrong Ltd, at their Barrow-in-Furness yard and represented the latest development in fast home-trade passenger service.

She was, essentially, an elegant ship with an unbroken and gently sheered shelter-deck, straight stem and elliptical stern, two long superstructures, and a raked and cowled funnel, which was to be the hallmark of the company’s ships until the coming of the side-loading car, ferry, Manx Maid 2. In 1962. She was the first British ferry to be fitted with an Oertz rudder, closely resembling that fitted to the Bremen and other multiple-screw vessels, thus reducing the size of the designed rudder from 93.3 sq. ft to 83.6 sq. ft while achieving a satisfactory improvement in steering efficiency. Also, to improve steering when going astern, a bow rudder was fitted. The lines of the twin shafting were totally enclosed by bossing. The hull was built with five decks - designated boat-deck, promenade deck, shelter-deck (weather deck), main and lower decks. of these, two decks, the shelter and the main, were continuous throughout the ship. The lower deck, however, was interrupted in the way of the engine-room. And the collision bulkhead affected watertight subdivision was continued, weather-tight, up to the shelter-deck level. Hydraulically operated watertight doors affected access between the subdivisions, control valves and switches being positioned on the bridge. An arrangement of hand-operated levers and audible alarms was also provided to give warning that doors were about to be closed.

Over the greatest part of the ship's length, the bottom construction was on the open floor system, but in the way of the engine-room, and compartments immediately abaft it, a double bottom was included to allow for the carriage of feed water and water ballast. The fore and after peaks were arranged for the carriage of water ballast and a trimming tank was also provided in the fore part of the vessel. Fresh water, for domestic use, was carried in a tank between the propeller shafts. Two deep tanks were provided immediately forward of the foremost boiler-room to provide capacity for oil-fuel with a pipe-duct below.

There was no provision for cargo or the carriage of cars since, of course, the company made allowance for the transport of such vehicular traffic, as did exist on their specially designed small cargo coasters.

Passenger accommodation was quite strictly divided, according to the current practice of the railways, into first-class and third-class provision. In general, first-class passengers were allocated accommodation either amidships or forward while third-class passengers were confined to the after part of the ship. Accordingly, sleeping accommodation was provided in the three first-class saloons for 144 persons on the lower-deck, forward, while there was provision for 90 third-class passengers in two saloons at the after end of that deck. There were also six private cabins for first-class passengers arranged on the promenade deck. There was additional sleeping accommodation for 40 third-class passengers in the third-class dining saloon at the after end of the main-deck, and an adjacent third-class private ladies' sleeping saloon with sleeping berths for 32 passengers. The saloon galley was located forward of the boiler casing on the main deck and a galley for the crew was positioned abaft the boiler casing on the same deck. The Stewards’ storeroom and a cabin for eight stewardesses forward of the first-class dining saloon. The first-class lounge was located on the shelter-deck forward and buffet and a special first-class private cabin were arranged adjacent to it. The space abaft the Lounge was devoted to an enclosed first-class promenade, large Beclawat windows being fitted on the sides. The first-class smoke-room and bar were located abaft the engine casing. Beyond the smoke-room to the after most extremity of the Superstructure was given over to a third class Promenade space together with a third-class entrance and buffet. At the forward end Of the Promenade deck a first-class ladies' saloon was located, with berths for 52 passengers and, also, the first- class-entrance. A tea bar and buffet were provided at the after end and five private cabins were also provided. Promenading space was allowed for on this deck, third-class passengers are being confined to the extension at the aft of the deck. The first-class provision was also protected by side screens, lit by Baccarat windows, thus ensuring adequate protection during foul weather crossings. As in the case of the promenade space, on the shelter-deck, adequate portable sparred seats were provided.

Although the crossing is only short, great care was taken in the planning and decoration of the passenger accommodation so as to provide maximum comfort on the voyage. The first-class dining saloon was finished in polished African walnut and ventilation and light were afforded by trunked skylight and 14in hinged skylights. Polished hardwood tables and revolving chairs, upholstered green leather and polished side- boards provided the main items of furniture. As in the case of every public room, throughout the ship, the ceiling was white and the beams were encased with white wooden moulding and an electric Magicoal fire was provided. The lounge was particularly attractive, being finished in mahogany panels relieved by ebony mouldings.

The furniture comprised of chintz fabric covered chairs and similarly covered settees and occasional round tables. The tearoom was panelled in apple-birch framed in gilt and polished sycamore, and lit by an ornamental dome of coloured glass and large rectangular windows. The furniture of this space included chintz-covered armchairs and settees and six small wooden tables. The floor was laid with Korkoid tiling over, which were laid Axminster carpet runners. An adjacent buffet with a serving hatch was fitted to provide refreshments to passengers occupying the tearoom. The first-class ladies saloon was panelled in Californian maple relieved by polished walnut. Settees provided sleeping accommodation screened by curtains. A number of small tables and easy chairs were also provided. Runners of Wilton carpet were laid over the Korkoid tiling on the deck. Rectangular brass framed sliding windows provided light and ventilation. The first-class smoke-room was panelled in fumed oak, and comfortably furnished with upholstered settees, armchairs and small round tables. A bar was incorporated with the smoke-room. The sleeping quarters for first-class passengers included a number of private cabins, panelled in African walnut and each fitted out with sofa-berths and hot and cold washing facilities. The third-class passengers' accommodation was equally well founded, if a little simpler and less comprehensive. All spaces were ventilated, both naturally and by the punkah-louvre system of Thermotank Ltd. Indeed, all passenger and crew spaces, and galley and storerooms were similarly ventilated.

The master was given a small suite of rooms, overlooking the foredeck, in the forward house on the boat-deck. Two deck officers were accommodated in cabins abaft the master and the radio officer was berthed on the promenade deck. The engineer officers were accommodated on the main deck, to. starboard of the engine casing. The purser was berthed to port of the engine casing.

The chief steward and cooks were housed on the main deck near the ship's galley and domestic departments, on the port and starboard sides. Accommodation for seamen, firemen and stewards was provided at both ends of the lower deck.

The ship's navigational equipment consisted of a range of compasses, both standard and a vertical card steering compass and an emergency compass on the poop. The wheelhouse, forward of the chartroom, also housed a telegraph, ship's wheel and telemotor, an RDF device, and an echo-sounder and Trident Log. 1 am not aware of any duplication of gear, except navigation lights, to enable her to be steered stern foremost. Two telemotor steering pedestals were also mounted on the bridge-wings to control the steam operated bow rudder. A fully comprehensive inventory of life-saving equipment was provided, in full compliance the statutory requirements Board of Trade for vessels type, and for the service for which she was proposed. These included ten Class 1A 27ft slung below semi-rotary Welin-Maclachlan davits and powered by four electrically driven boat winches. Boat accommodation was supplemented by a large number of life rafts and buoyant deck seats.

The ship was propelled by two sets of Parsons turbines manufactured by the builders and designed to develop 11,500 ship. with power astern being about 79% of that ahead. Condensers of the regerative type were connected to the bottom valves of the low-pressure turbines. Steam was raised by two single-ended and two double-ended boilers, both located forward of the engine-room. The boilers were oil-fired working under forced draught of air supplied by three fans. The fans were each of 26 h.p. 610 and operated on a voltage of  220 volts. Pumps, with the exception of the motor-driven emergency bilge pump in one of the boiler rooms, were all steam powered.

The new ship was launched; on March 4, 1930; by Her Grace the Duchess of Atholl. She left Barrow on June 12, 1930, adjusted compasses in Morecambe Bay, and then proceeded to the Clyde for engine trials, testing the efficiency of the stern and bow rudders on the way. Trials were undertaken on June 13, 1930, on the Arran measured-mile course and a speed of 23 knots was attained. The Lady of Mann initially joined the Fleetwood-Douglas service, being opened for public inspection in Fleetwood and then sailing on her maiden voyage on June 28, 1930. At the time of her trials the "Lady's" hull was painted black, in accordance with I.O.M.S.P. practice, but early in her career it was painted white, a colour which entirely befitted her position as, firstly, the centenary ship, and, secondly, the commodore ship of this important fleet. In this livery I have chosen to depict her. In her first years she had a BOT certificate for 2,873 passengers.

In the summers of 1937 and 1938 the company boasted a fleet of 18 steamships, the maximum number in its history. Each one, of course, was fully occupied during the summer season but, in winter, the most important members of the fleet were laid up on a care and maintenance basis. The Lady of Mann herself usually spent the winter months at Barrow.

The first major event of the World War 2 came in June 1940 when, between May 28 and June 6, no less than eight ships belonging to the IOMSP fleet were engaged in the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk; 24,669 were rescued by the Isle of Man packets, including the 'Lady', which undertook four passages from Dover and brought back as many as 4,262 troops. Some 333,800 men, in total, were brought back to safety, in other words, one in every 14 were transported back across the Channel on board Manx ships. A fortnight later, the Lady of Mann took part in Operation Ariel, lifting beleaguered British troops from Cherbourg, Brest and Le Havre. During one voyage she made passage with 5,000 men on board. From August 1940 until 1944, when she was converted into an LSI in preparation for the Normandy invasion carrying six landing craft, she was engaged as a

Troop transport, often based in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. During the invasion she operated as Headquarters Ship for the 512th Assault Flotilla, responsible for the landings on Juno Beach.

The "Lady" returned to Douglas to be given a civic reception, proud and triumphant, on March 9, 1946. She was then partly reconditioned by Cammel Lairds and in the Morpeth Dock before returning to full service on June 14, 1946. The next major overhaul of the ship was undertaken in the winter of 1958/59, which was carried out again by Cammel Lairds.

Car carriers began to appear in the fleet and diesel propulsion was in the minds of the directorship by 1971. Doubtless there were protests when it was decided that the 'Lady" had reached the stage when she was no longer economic. Her final passenger sailing was from Ardrossan to Douglas at 1400 on Sunday afternoon, August 14, 1971. A large crowd of onlookers had gathered on the Point of Ayre, at the northernmost tip of the Island, to witness this final homecoming of a much-loved ship. The Ramsey Coastguard station signalled the event with a display of flares, and the lighthouse keepers on Maughold Head saluted her with a mournful wailing of their fog siren.

Two days later she left Douglas for the last time, witnessed by thousands on the piers and promenades of the town, as she steamed away, bound for a lay- up in Barrow. There she was put up for sale, with demolition being the most likely option for a 41-year-old steamship. She was purchased for breaking by Arnott Young of Daimuir and, on the last day of the year, she arrived there under tow of the tug Wrestler. 11




Classic Steam Packets of the Past  Part 2








1. P. S. KING ORRY 1 Launched 1842 Gross Tonnage 433 Length 140' Speed 9.5 knots

The name "King Orry “ was to become famous in the Steam Packet Company annals and "KING ORRY”1" created her own place in the Company's history She was the last wooden vessel built for the Company and also the only ship ever to be built in Douglas for the Company Her average sailing times between Douglas and Liverpool took 7 hours. She served the Steam Packet Co between 1849 until being part exchanged as it were in 1858 against P.S. Douglas 1. Robert Napier & Co's new vessel. This well known Glasgow steam engineering company in turn sold her to the Greeks for trading throughout the Levant




2. P.S. KING ORRY.2 Launched 1871 Gross Tonnage 809 Length 260' (later lengthened to 290ft) Speed 17 knots.

The second bearer of the name to become legendary in the Company's history, she created her own record by serving the Steam Packet Company for 41 years. (The longest period any ship had served up to that time Lengthened by 30' in 1888, and about this period was reboilered, this increased her speed to 17 knots. During 1895 electric light was installed, a fine looking ship, with counter stem and straight stem, fashionable at the time. In 1912 she was broken up.




3. T.S.S. KlNG ORRY 3. Launched 11-3-1913 Gross Tonnage 1876.72 Length (OA) 313ft Pass Acc 1st Class 884 3rd Class 716 Trial speed 20 knots The last ship ordered by the Steam Packet Co before World War 1, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty for duties as an armed boarding vessel. Operating from Scapa Flow she intercepted and captured many ships carrying contraband to Germany Disguised as a trader and renamed VIKING ORRY she patrolled the treacherous northern waters off Norway. On November 21st 1918 she was awarded the singular honour by Admiral Beatty, in recognition of the part played in the War by British Merchant ships, of leading the capitulating German Grand Fleet into Scapa Flow Returning to the Steam Packet Fleet, she remained on station until World War 2 this required this veteran to return to hostilities as an armed boarding vessel in 1939. Sent in at the beginning of the Dunkirk evacuation she saved many thousands of soldiers within a few days, successfully surviving air attack. and coastal bombardment. However, on May 29th 1940, an air attack damaged her severely and she sank, becoming one of the four Company vessels lost at Dunkirk.




4. T.S.S. KING ORRY 4 .Launched 22-11-1945 Gross Tonnage 2484.63 Length (OA) 345ft Pass Acc 1st Class 1079, 3rd Class 1144 Trial speed 21.6 knots. The first of the post World War 2 ships built for the Steam Packet Co ,and was the first of six ships built to this design, culminating in T.S.S.MANX MAN 2. KING ORRY 4 was a well loved vessel and served the Steam Packet for 29 years, sailing her last Company voyage in 1975. However, her name lives on for the National Maritime Museum have bought parts of her machinery for display as examples of the engineering used in the small boats of the "Dunkirk” Armada"



5. S.S.FENELLA 1 Launched 1881 Gross Tonnage 564 Length 200ft Pass Acc 504 Speed 14 knots She was a very hard worked steamer, built as a cargo ship, but with passenger accommodation for relief crossings during the winter. Serving on all Steam Packet Company routes she was disposed of in 1929 after 48 years of service.




6. T.S.S. FENELLA 2 Launched 16-12-1936 Gross Tonnage 2375.53 Length 314.6ft Trial speed 21.81 knots

Twin to T.S.S.TYNWALD, FENELLA 2 was the shortest lived Steam Packet Company ship, serving the fleet in the Irish Sea for just over 2.5 years, before being requisitioned at the beginning of World War 2 by the Admiralty to act as a personnel carrier. She transported troops between Newport, St Nazaire, Brest, La Pallice, Quiberon Bay and Cherbourg but on her first mission to Dunkirk on May 28th 1940. crewed by Steam Packet Co sailors. she came under heavy aerial bombardment, whilst moored to the pier. Embarking troops. Seriously damaged by the bombs. she was abandoned. later sinking. This disaster claimed the lives of many of the Steam Packet crews.



7. P.S. PRINCE OF WALES launched 14-4-1887 Gross Tonnage 1,547.2 Length (OA) 341.6ft' Pass, Acc Ist Class 1088. 3rd Class 458 Trial speed 24:25 knots. Bought by the Steam Packet Co on 23-11-1888, she was faster than her sister ship P.S. QUEEN VICTORIA sailing in 1897 from the Rock Light, New Brighton to Douglas Head in 2 hours 59 minutes. an average speed of 23.5  knots.  Renamed H.M.S. PRINCE EDWARD when requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1915. She acted as a Boom Defence and Anti-Submarine vessel. Her war duties took her as far away as the Eastern Meditenanean and she saw action in the Gallipoli Campaign at one time accompanying another Steam Packet Co ship SNAEFELL. Until eventually broken up 1920



8. P.S. EMPRESS QUEEN launched 4-3-1897 Gross Tonnage 1,240. 23 Length (OA) 372ft.  Pass Acc 1st Class 1509. 3rd Class 485 Trial speed 21:75 knots. Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s jubilee-permission being obtained through the Lieutenant Governor Lord Henniker P.S.EMPRESS QUEEN was the largest and fastest paddle steamer built for cross. Channel service. She was the first Steam Packet Company ship to be fitted with wireless and her speed was such that she recorded a voyage from the Rock Light, New Brighton to Douglas Head in 2 hours and 57 minutes. However she was to be the last paddle steamer ordered from a shipyard by the Steam Packet Co She set a trend in design for all. Subsequent Steam Packet Company ships by being fitted with a bow rudder to increase manoeuvrability. In World War 1 being requisitioned by the Admiralty she served as a troop ship ferrying soldiers between Southampton and Le Havre This beautiful ship met her end on 12-1-1916 when she ran aground in thick fog on the Bembridge Ledge, Isle of Wight, whilst carrying 1300 troops returning to England on leave, attendant destroyers took off the troops safely but an ensuing gale smashed the EMPRESS QUEEN beyond salvage.



9. P.S. MONA’S QUEEN 2. Launched 1885 Gross Tonnage 1559 Length 320 ft -1 inch, Trial speed 19 knots. She was the Steam Packet Company's answer to beat the rivalry of the Isle of Man Liverpool & Manchester Company. As an indication of her speed she sailed from Fleetwood to Douglas regularly in three hours approx. Chartered at the outbreak of World War I by the Admiralty, she acted as a troopship ferrying soldiers between Southampton and France. Her most spectacular war experience occurred one night whilst carrying 1000 soldiers, when a German submarine was spotted and staying on course in spite of a torpedo fired at her, the MONA 'S QUEEN struck the U-boat’s conning tower with her port paddles and sank it, after major repairs to her paddles caused by this incident, she continued duties until the end of the war. She returned to the Steam Packet Company in 1920 and continued in service until 1929, being the last paddle ship to serve in the Company's Fleet.



10. T.S.S. MONA’S QUEEN 3. Launched 12-4-1934 Gross Tonnage 2755.88 Length (BP) 3376ft Pass Acc 1st Class 1413, 3rd Class 1073 Trial speed 22.305 knots. Painted white with green boot topping on her launching she was popular with passengers who appreciated her luxuriously appointed interior Requisitioned for duties in World War II as a personnel carrier she evacuated thousands of troops ( whilst crewed by Steam Packet personnel ) from Calais, Boulougne, Ostend and Dunkirk in 1940, evading air attacks and shore bombardments. She was the last merchant ship to leave Calais having delivered 300 tons of explosives for the demolition of the docks before the advancing Germans seized the port This gallant ship and crew met an untimely end when returning to Dunkirk on the 29th May, 1940, being blown apart by a bomb and sinking within 90 seconds claiming many lives of the Steam Packet crew a photograph of her sinking is displayed in the Head Office of the Company in Douglas.



11. T.S.M.V. MONA’S QUEEN 5. Launched 22-12-1971 Gross Tonnage 2998.34 tons Length (OA) 342. 7.5 feet Pass Acc 1600 Trial speed 21.267 knots. In keeping with her historic name, MONA’S QUEEN 5 created a number of "firsts" In the Company's annals She was the first diesel passenger ship built for the Company, the first to be fitted with variable pitch propellers, the first Steam Packet Co car ferries to sail to Dublin and from Fleetwood. Fitted with twin rudders, bow thrusters, stabilisers and bow rudder, her speed and manoeuvrability can be controlled directly from the bridge by changing The pitch of the propellers She is a fast and comfortable ship serving all the main ports of the Steam Packet Company, up until 1990 she was then sold to a Manila shipping company and renamed  Mary the Queen.




12. P.S. MONA 3 Launched 8-4-1889 Gross Tonnage 1212.9 Length (OA) 324.6 ft Pass Acc 1212 Trial speed 2075 knots. Originally built for the London Chatham and Dover Railway Company and named P.S. CALAlS / DOUVRES, she was the first English cross channel steamer To be installed with electric lighting. An example of her speed was as such that a voyage across the English Channel took only 57 minutes (an average speed of 2263 knots ) When the Steam Packet Co purchased her on 6-7-1903 and renamed her, she was the last paddle steamer bought by the Company, and after 6 years on station was scrapped In 1909.



13. T.S. TYNWALD 3 Launched 11-5-1891 Gross Tonnage 936.72 Length (BP) 265 ft Pass Acc 1st Class 679, 3rd Class 225 Trial speed 1938 knots. It was the first time a shipyard-was specified to Install a Steam Packet Company ship with electric lights, when she was ordered. During the First World War she sailed the Douglas to Liverpool route a journey made hazardous by the constant mining of the Mersey approaches by the Germans On 9-4 -1917 she was involved in an exciting incident when on voyage from Douglas An American Liner NEW YORK was torpedoed just outside the Mersey and TYNWALD racing to the scene rescued all the passengers Her last voyage in Steam Packet Company colours was on 23-8-1930, after which she was purchased by R A Colby Cubbon who Intended to convert her into a private yacht. However at the outbreak of World War II the Admiralty requisitioned her and she served as an accommodation ship to HMS EAGLET 2 at Birkenhead.



14. T.S.S. TYNWALD 4 Launched 16-12-1936 Gross Tonnage 2375.53 Length (BP) 314.6ft. Pass Acc 1st Class 1086, 3rd Class 882 Trial speed 21.68 knots. Together with her sister ship T.S.S. FENELLA 2 she was the first Steam Packet Co vessel to have a cruiser stem and was designed for the Winter Service routes. As a personnel carrier after requisitioning, she attended the evacuation of Dunkirk, Cherbourg and Le Havre ferrying over 8,000 troops to safety- more than any other Steam Packet Co vessel. Converted to an anti-.aircraft ship and commissioned H.M.S. TYNWALD.In 1941, she acted as convoy escort around England until despatched to take part in Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa, and the attack of Algiers in 1942. As an escort in the attack of Bougie east of Algiers on 12-11-1942, whilst the naval force was being attacked from the air, she struck a mine and sank



15. T.S.S. MANXMAN 1 Launched 15-6-1904 Gross Tonnage 2029.69 Length (BP) 334ft. Pass Acc 1st Class 1155, 3rd Class 865. Built for the Midland Railway Company she sailed on the Douglas - Heysham route before requisitioned by the Admiralty on 17-4 –1916. Being converted to a sea plane carrier she contributed to naval aviation by "flying off Sopwith Pup Fighters from her decks, although these had to land on the sea, where, supported by flotation bags they awaited to be hoisted on board again. The Steam Packet Co bought her when she was released from war service converting her to an oil burner the first Steam Packet Company ship to use oil fuel. In World War 2, again requisitioned, she served as a personnel carrier evacuating troops from Dunkirk and North West France. At Cherbourg fully ladened with troops and ammunition she only managed to escape from the harbour with the aid of a destroyer despatched specially to cover her evacuation, which fired upon a column of Panzers attacking along the quayside. Commissioned as HMS CADACEUS in 1941 she was converted to radio detection finding ship. At the end of the War converted as a personnel carrier, she ferried troops and refugees from Europe to England, finally being scrapped by I.O.M.S.P.Co In 1949





16. T.S.S. MANXMAN 2 Launched 8-2-1955 Gross Tonnage 2495.4. Length (OA) 344ft, Pass Acc 1st Class 964, 3rd Class 1338 Trial speed 21.302 knots. The sixth and last ship in the Class originating with the KING ORRY 4 differing only in her engine room. A comfortable and excellent sea boat she still serves the Company though mostly on day excursions, except for peak periods when she reinforces the Fleet on the major routes, this is dated 1980, no longer in service.





17. Tr.S.S. VIKING Launched 7-3-1905 Gross Tonnage 1956.76 Length  (OA) 361ft, Pass. Acc 1st Class 976, 3rd Class 900 Trial speed 23.864knots. Built to compete with the Midland Railway Company's "MANXMAN" she was the first Steam Packet Co ship to be turbine driven, and soon proved her speed by arriving in Douglas from Fleetwood in 2 hours 22 minutes on 25-5-1907 (averaging 23.2 knots) also sailing from Liverpool to Douglas in 3 hours. Converted to a seaplane carrier by the Admiralty in World War 1 and renamed HMS VINDEX, she the first ship to launch a wheeled undercarriage plane from her decks, presaging the advent of the aircraft carrier. Attached to the Grand Fleet between 1915 and 1918 she also saw active service in the Eastern Meditenanean.Between Wars she was on station with the Steam Packet Co until, requisitioned for duties in World War 2. In which she evacuated retreating (troops from Le Havre and Cherbourg. On a unique mission in 1940 she evacuated almost the entire child population of Guernsey from St Peter Port. running the gauntlet of air attacks and landing the children (1800 in all) at Weymouth. Released from War Service in 1945 she sailed the Steam Packet Co routes until she steamed away to the breakers yard on 16-8-1954. leaving a wonderful history of 49 years of service.





18. Tr.S.S. VICTORIA. Launched 27-2-1907 Gross Tonnage 1640.68 Length, (OA) 322ft Pass Acc 1st Class 797, 3rd Class 843 Trial speed 22.575 knots. Built for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. she served as a Cross Channel ferry. On January 11th 1919 she had the distinction of conveying the Imperial Delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. notable passengers on this voyage included Lloyd George. the Canadian, Australian. New  Zealand and South African Prime Ministers and the Japanese Ambassador etc.  Purchased by the Steam Packet Co in 1920 she remained on station until 1940 when she was mined in the River, Mersey but not sunk. Repaired and requisitioned by the Admiralty she operated as a target towing vessel until 1943 when she was used to train troops for the imminent invasion of Europe and on D Day in 1944 landed British invasion forces at Arromanches, and for a few days continued American forces on the Utah beachhead. With the invasion progressing successfully. the VICTORIA reverted to a personnel carrier ferrying supplies. and troops between the newly liberated French ports and England Returning to the Steam Packet Co in 1947 she served the Steam-Packet Company until being scrapped in 1957.





19. T.S.S.RUSHEN CASTLE Launched   23-4-1898 Gross Tonnage 1528 Length  (BP) 371ft Pass Acc 1st Class 924. 3rd Class 274 Trial speed 19.95 knots. Named by her first owners THE DUKE OF CORNWALL. She was used by the Lancashire & Yorkshire and the London & North Western Railway Companies on the Fleetwood – Belfast route The Admiralty requisitioned her for World War I duties as an armed boarding vessel. Bought by the. Steam Packet Co on 11-5-1928 from the LMS Railway she was renamed RUSHEN CASTLE and maintained the vital Douglas to Fleetwood route during World War 2. She holds the dubious record of the longest voyage from Liverpool to Douglas. During the war and journeying from Liverpool a storm struck Douglas Harbour and the Captain was incorrectly advised by radio to head East (this should have been West, meaning Peel as the destination harbour) Arriving in error at Douglas and unable to berth in the Harbour the Captain was signalled to head for Peel. However the storm veered by the time she arrived there and she was unable to berth. Riding out the storm at sea until calmer conditions prevailed. she eventually berthed at Peel 71 hours late after leaving Liverpool. She left the Steam Packet Fleet for breaking up in January 1947.




20. T.S.S. PEEL CASTLE.  Launched 3-02-1894 Gross Tonnage I474.10 Length (OA) 3102ft Pass Acc 1st Class 509 3rd Class 820 Trial speed 19.06 knots. Originally named THE DUKE OF YORK. She was purchased from her owners and renamed by the Steam Packet Co on 17-7-1912. Chartered by the Admiralty on 28-10-1914 she served in the Navy as an armed boarding auxiliary. Acting as a guard ship deployed in a section of the Dover Patrol. She saw active service in the Channel for 3 years, but after a serious fire she was refitted with depth charge throwers and para vanes and despatched to patrol the Orkneys. Retuning to the Steam Packet Fleet in 1919.she remained on station until l-l0-1938.




21. P.S. BEN-MY-CHREE 2.  Launched 1875 Gross Tonnage 1192 Length 310 ft Trial speed 14 knots. The largest ship ordered by the Steam Packet Co at the time. she did not  meet the specified speed requirements laid down by the Company. She was reboilered with extra funnels being added fore and aft making her the only four-funnelled ship In the Company's history. She was in service for 31 years finally being scrapped in 1908.





22. Tr.S.S. BEN-MY-CHREE 3  Launched 23-3-1908 Gross Tonnage 2550.28 Length (OA) 389ft Pass Acc 2549 Trial speed 26.64 knots.

The second turbine driven ship ordered by the Steam Packet Co. She was even faster than Tr.S.S. VIKING and. She was the largest ship of her day. and averaged sailings from Liverpool to Douglas in 2 hours. 53 minutes from pier to pier. an average speed of 24.12 knots. When requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted into a seaplane carrier. Tr.S.S. BEN-MY-CHREE. made her name in naval aviation history when a plane launched from her decks torpedoed and sank a 5000 ton Turkish supply ship This was the first ever-successful aerial torpedo attack. She saw a great deal of action in the Eastern Meditenanean. actively Involved in the Gallipoli campaign. using her planes for bombing. Reconnaissance and spotting for naval bombardment. On January 11th 1917 anchoring off the Island of Castellorizo, was occupied by the French. She was within range of an unsuspected Turkish battery on the mainland, which sank her by gunfire.





23. T.S.S. BEN-MY-CHREE 4 Launched 5-4-1927 Gross Tonnage 2586.48 Length (OA) 3664ft Pass Acc First-Class 1642. 3rd Class 853 Trial speed off 22.535 knots The first steamer built post World War I for the Steam Packet Co. she was averaging over 20 knots on the Liverpool. Douglas sailings. She was painted white with green boot topping for the 1932 season and was very popular with passengers with her luxurious Interior. Requisitioned at the beginning of World War 2. she attended the Dunkirk evacuation and saved over 4.000 troops before a collision caused her to withdraw from this dramatic moment in history. She sailed on transport duties between: Iceland and Britain until 1944 when she was converted as a landing ship, for the forthcoming invasion of Europe. On D Day 6th June 1944 she and her landing craft saw action off Omaha Beach. Landing the crack American troops .She continued as a transport until 1946 when she returned to service with the Steam Packet Fleet until disposed of in 1965- and 38 years of heroic and industrious service.





24. T.S.S. BEN-MY- CHREE 5 Launched 10-12-1965 Gross Tonnage 2762.19 Length (OA) 329.8' Pass Acc 1400 Trial speed 22.086 knots.

Continuing the famous name, she was the second purpose built car ferry being similar to T.S.S.MANXMAID 2 with the same drive on drive off system. She was the last ship designed for two-class passenger accommodation and in 1967 along with all the other Company vessels was converted to one class. This two-tier passenger accommodation had been the company practice for 136 years. BEN-MY-CHREE 5 operates on all the major 1980 routes of the company…. no longer in service.



25. P.S. SNAEFELL 2 Launched 1876 Gross Tonnage 849 Length 251ft.3" Speed 15 knots. An iron paddle steamer, giving steady service for the Company for 38 years, she was equipped with electric lights in 1895, quite an innovation at the time. She was eventually sold in 1904.



26. Tr.S.S SNAEFELL 4 Launched 10-3-1906 Gross Tonnage 1712.68 Length (0A) 315ft Pass, Acc, 1st Class 1056, 3rd Class 643 Trial speed 22.576 knots. Named VIPER by her original owners and used on the Ardrossan & Belfast route, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty. in World War 1 as a troopship and ferried the British Expeditionary force from Southampton to France. When purchased in 1920 by the Steam Packet Co and renamed she served a variety of routes between wars. During World War 2 she maintained the wartime routes between the Island and England (mainly Douglas / Fleetwood being withdrawn from service in 1945.




27. S.S.DOUGLAS 3 Launched 23-1-1889 Gross Tonnage 774.13 Length (BP) 340ft Pass Acc, 1st Class 362, 3rd Class 144 Trial speed 16.52 knots. Named SS DORA by her original owners the London & South West Railway Company, she plied the English Channel to the Channel Islands When she was purchased by the Steam Packet Co on 26-7-1901 and renamed, it was the first time (with the exclusion P.S. OF WALES and P.S.QUEEN VICTORIA) that the Steam Packet Co bought a ship from another Company in stead of ordering direct from a shipyard. The Steam-Packet Co were forced into this action by the gap left in the Fleet through the loss of the PEVERIL in 1889. During World War 1 she kept open the sea route between the Island and England. Her unexpected demise occurred in the River Mersey when she rammed midships and sank on 16-8-1923. All the crew and 15 passengers were taken off safely by the ship that struck her.




28. P.S. MONA’S ISLE 3. Launched 1882 Gross Tonnage 1564 Length 330ft.7" Pass Acc 1561 Speed 17knots.The largest and most expensive steamer built at the time, she was a very fast ship and sailed between Douglas and Liverpool in 3 hours 35 minutes. Purchased by the Admiralty in 1915. she acted as a net laying and anti-submarine vessel. She patrolled near Ireland and a large expanse of the Irish Sea on various missions. She did not return to Company service after the First World War.



29. Tr.S.S.MANX MAID 1 Launched 25-5-1910 Gross Tonnage 1504.12 Length (OA) 298ft Pass, Acc, 1st Class 257 3rd Class 643 Trial speed 2041 knots. Owned by the London & South Western Railway Company. and named T.S.S. CEASAREA she was employed on the Southampton to Channel Islands route. Commissioned in World War I as H.M.S. PYRAMUS, she was an armed boarding vessel. After purchase by the I.of.Man. Steam-Packet Co in 1923 and renamed MANX-MAID she sailed various routes until August 1939 when she was requisitioned once again as an armed boarding vessel, helping in the evacuation of France. Although commissioned as HMS PYRAMUS the Admiralty later changed her name to H.M.S. BRUCE, employing her as a fleet air am towing vessel. She returned to the Steam-Packet Fleet in 1945 and served the Company until sold for scrap for scrap in 1950.





30. T.S.S.MANX MAID 2 Launched 23.1.1962 Gross Tonnage 2,723.99 Length (BP) 325' Pass Acc 1400 Trial speed 21.82 knots.

She was a milestone in the Company's history, being the first purpose built car ferry (accommodating 9O cars and also the first to be fitted with stabilisers. A unique spiral ramp loading system with exits at various deck levels is employed to enable cars to be driven on and off without hindrance from varying tidal levels in the ports used by the Steam Packet Company She is now fitted with a bow thrusters a propeller mounted side ways in the bow and is sailing on all the routes of the Steam Packet dated 1980, no longer in service.




31. T.S.S.LADY OF MANN 1 Launched 4.3.1930 Gross Tonnage 3104.18 Length (OA) 372ft  Pass, Acc 1st Class 1170, 3rd Class 1103 Trial speed 22.789 knots

Built in the Centenary Year of the Company, she was the largest ship ordered by the Steam Packet Co. She was very popular with passengers and very fast 22.79 knots on service. Painted white in 1930 like BEN-MY-CHREE she also joined the "Armada" at Dunkirk being requisitioned as a personnel carrier where her achievements were spectacular. Her speed enabled her to evacuate over 4,000 soldiers whilst under air attack and coastal bombardment. Days later she was one of the last three ships to evacuate troops from Cherbourg, sailing out of the Harbour under an air attack. She served as a personnel carrier until 1944 when she was converted for the D Day Invasion, in which together with her landing crafts, saw action in the Juno Beach Sector. Until the end of the War she ferried troops and refugees between Europe and England, returning to the Steam Packet Co in 1946 and serving the Company until being broken up in 1971.




32. T.S.M.V. LADY OF MANN 2 Launched 4.12.1975 Gross Tonnage 2990.35 Length 322ft Pass, Acc 1600 Trial speed 21 knots The flagship of the Company's fleet, in the company's l 5Oth anniversary, she is the fourth car ferry and fastest car ferry purpose built for the Steam Packet Company, incorporating similar drive on drive off loading system as previous car ferries. A sister ship to the T.S.M.V. MONA’S QUEEN 4 she has a few differing features, enough to let the imitated know which one is coming in to berth. She is the fastest vessel in the Company service, and in 1979 she sailed from Fleetwood to Douglas (pier to pier} in 2 hours 39 minutes Unfortunately the oil crises necessitates fuel conservation and prevents her from sailing beyond her trial speeds which she could easily exceed. The "Lady" as she is known locally. served the Company on all its major routes, up until 2005. She left the Mersey 22 October 2005 for Pireaus in Greece, she was renamed there Panagia Soumala.



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Acknowledgements  to Adrian Sweeny of “Ships of Mann” and

“A Pictorial History of the Isle of Man Steam-Packet Ships by Noel Howarth dated 1980  

Copyright Reserved  ©  Brian E. P. Kneen email:

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Latest update is dated   9th January  2015