Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man ferry service 'vulnerable'

The Isle of Man ferry service is one of the most vulnerable in the north west of Europe, a travel watchdog has said.

TravelWatch Isle of Man claimed the island was the only community in the area dependant on a single vessel for winter freight and passenger services.

The organisation welcomed the government's decision to review the user agreement with the Steam Packet company.

The Steam Packet company has declined to comment.

A spokesman for TravelWatch said it was concerned about the resilience of the island's shipping services.

In a recent investigation, TravelWatch compared the Isle of Man's ferry service to those in the Channel Islands, Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland and the Baltic.

High winds, and technical difficulties at the Steam Packet company, led to a series of cancellations of ferries in the run up to Christmas last year.

A government spokesman said there were plans to review the user agreement with the Steam Packet company and discussions would include looking at the quality of service provided.

It is thought the ongoing discussions will also focus on long-term issues such as future ownership of the company, investment in new ships and port infrastructure, and destination ports in UK and Ireland.

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