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Archive 90: The Lady of Mann - Queen of the Irish Sea

Photographs  John H. Luxton 1995 - 2010

LADY OF MANN alongside Prince's Landing Stage in spring 1995.

During 1996 KING ORRY, LADY OF MANN and PEVERIL maintained the service as SEACAT ISLE OF MAN had been chartered to Colorline as SEACAT NORGE. In Spring 1996 Sea Containers made an offer for the remaining public shares which they did not own and finally completed the take-over of the Steam Packet which had begun with the Manxline merger the previous decade.

In the photographs on the left LADY OF MANN can be seen arriving at Douglas shortly after KING ORRY had brought in the Heysham afternoon sailing

Sea Containers had great plans for expanding the Irish Sea route network. During spring 1997 LADY OF MANN was refitted to open a new Liverpool to Dublin passenger service. The ships high speed enabled the round trip to be comfortably undertaken within the day. Day excursion fares of 10 were on offer and passenger could stock up on a large range of "Duty Free" goods.

Above and left LADY OF MANN is seen leaving Langton Lock and crossing to Birkenhead Docks at the completion of her 1997 refit in spotless condition. The inaugural voyage to Dublin too place several days before the main service began. The LADY OF MANN making a brief appearance in the movie "The Boxer" being filmed in Dublin. (right)

The inaugural trip to Dublin sailed in mid May with the main service commencing on Thursday June 12 and continued to operate until Monday January 5th 1998 (far right). Unfortunately there was an interruption to the service during mid autumn when the LADY suffered a camshaft failure on November 07. During 1997 Dublin Port terminal was in the process of being rebuilt as can be seen in the photograph showing the late Captain Vernon Kinley bring the LADY OF MANN alongside. Captain Kinley always had a reputation for giving passengers an interesting run and quite often would take a the LADY on a short-cut off the coast of Anglesey between the cliffs and Middle Mouse.

"The LADY OF MANN did not make her scheduled crossing to Dublin on Saturday 8th November due to engine problems. She remained at Prince's Landing Stage until 12:15 when she moved off the stage under her own power. [Starboard engine only appeared to be operative] to allow the KING ORRY in bound from Douglas to berth. The LADY OF MANN then anchored down river awaiting the assistance of tugs. She moved off sometime after 13:15 in the company of two Howard Smith Towing tugs. WATERLOO at the bow and GLADSTONE at the stern. She entered Alfred Lock Birkenhead at approximately 13:45 and after reaching the level at 14:10 was moved off by the tugs and taken into her Vittoria Dock lay-up berth. In the close confines of the dock she appeared to be relying completely on the tugs. Once lines were ashore she hauled herself on to the berth." (extract from News Bulletin - November 09, 1997). The LADY OF MANN  re-entered service in early December 1997.

On December 22, 1997 an RAF Seaking Helicopter conducted a winching exercise somewhere between Anglesey and Dublin. The winch man disappeared below deck before returning to the helicopter. When he left the ship he could be seen with a carrier bag from the duty free shop! One wonders how many other shopping trips were carried out whilst Duty Free was available on the Irish Sea?


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