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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond
Voyage Report: Sea Containers


by John H. Luxton

Date 24 May 1997


10.30 Liverpool to Douglas

Commander: Captain Thompson

Weather: light airs - sea calm - good visibility

I arrived at the Sea Terminal in good time as the TT build-up is well underway. Though I arrived a good hour before departure time boarding of foot passengers was already underway. On the stage were a large number of vans and trucks containing motor bikes, the usual race support vehicles plus cars etc. A large number of motor bikes were also in evidence. The bikes were called forward first in groups, then finally the 4 wheel vehicles were loaded.

At the Mersey Ferries landing stage was the BALMORAL loading passengers for trip to Llandudno and a cruise onwards to Menai Bridge. The Balmoral departed on schedule at 10.00 and set off down river.

The SEACAT's departure was slightly behind schedule at 10.41 with 421 passengers reported to be aboard. Passing up the channel two in-bound vessels were passed - NOORDSTRAND and STOLT TERN. Shortly afterwards near the Crosby light float BALMORAL was overtaken on the starboard side whilst the LADY OF MANN passed in bound on her morning sailing from Douglas. It is a rare occasion now to see two Steam Packet vessels pass in the Mersey approaches.

The Mersey Bar Lightfloat was passed at around 11.10. Inbound for Cammell Lairds the large drilling ship DEEPSEA WORKER was noted.

An uneventful journey followed with arrival at Douglas harbour being at 13.19 some 19 minutes behind schedule. Another 8 minutes being lost en-route.


24 May 1997

17.30 Douglas to Liverpool

Commander: Captain Duggan

Weather: light airs - sea calm - good visibility

The return sailing from Douglas was at 17.30. Actual departure time was 17.33. Loadings were light with just 118 passengers and 37 vehicles being reported as aboard. On leaving Douglas, a well loaded KING ORRY was noted in-bound on her afternoon sailing from Heysham followed someway behind by the BELARD presumably carrying additional TT vehicle traffic.

An uneventful return to the Mersey Bar followed with only some beam trawlers noted. The Bar light was passed 19.20. At around the same time the LADY OF MANN was passed on an unadvertised TT extra sailing. Looking at her car ramps she appeared well loaded.

In the approach channel BALMORAL was overtaken by SEACAT ISLE OF MAN on the Starboard side. Ropes on at Prince's Landing Stage was at 20.08 some 8 minutes behind schedule.

These two journeys suggested that the ship is not being put through her paces. In her first season I recorded a Liverpool to Douglas time of a little over 2 hours. Back at Liverpool another large load of TT traffic was waiting.


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