The following "non voyage report" was posted to the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group on June 04. It is reproduced here with the poster's permission.
In many ways it illustrates the perils of attempting to travel during the TT when sailings often run late due to heavy loads. However, late running combined with an unfortunate incident in which two members of crew from RFA ORANGELEAF were lost in Douglas Bay during the early hours led to even greater delays.
The main criticism in this report is the fact that passengers were not given adequate information concerning delays and the eventual cancellation of the return sailing. Day trippers who were not aware of the return sailing cancellation could very well have found themselves stuck in Douglas overnight, and possibly without any available accommodation given the numbers already staying on the island for the TT Festival.
I will make no further comment as web master and allow readers to form their own opinions. However, if you wish to discuss this report, you may do so via the thread on the Irish Sea Ships Yahoo Group. Link from menu at top of this page.
John Luxton - Webmaster
I was going over to the island today to watch the TT races on day trip Outbound at 06.45, return at 19.15.
After checking in 06.00 and then going through to the departure lounge we were told a "Due to a medical emergency, the late inbound sailing from Douglas would result in a two hour delay for 06.45 sailing.
SUPERSEACAT TWO was prowling of the landing stage waiting for SEA EXPRESS 1 to leave for Dublin. SSC2 Berthed at 08.15 and commenced loading at 08.45.
Wandering around the ship I noticed there was plenty of action on the river with the Pleasure Cruiser Balmoral over at
Seacombe before moving to the Pier Head, LINDAROSA and MERSEY VIKING at Twelve Quays as well as a few larger ships using the morning tide to get in and of the docks up at Seaforth.
At approximately 11.00 I was standing by customer services desk asking what effect this late sailing would have on the return later and was told that 19.15 was cancelled, we were unlikely to get on the other evening sailings and the next available crossing would be to Heysham tomorrow morning. We would then get bussed back to Liverpool.
As a result of being told this, eight passengers asked to leave the ship.
We were then asked to go into the shop, which was closed. This was presumably so no one could over hear what was happening, it would appear that if too many opted out it would cause too much trouble.
Two Port Police officers and Ship Security were summoned. They took our details and carried out security checks on our identities before we could get off the ship. After the checks we where allowed to leave the ship escorted by
the Police and Ship Security back to the check in desks.
It finished loading at 11.30 with a heavy load some 393 Vehicles (Vans/Cars/Motorbikes/Bikes), 659 passengers and set sail at 11.35,
some 4 hours 50 minutes late. I noticed from the Manx Radio web cam that SUPERSEACAT TWO got into Douglas at 14.10 nearly 5 hours late.
I appreciate that the emergency which delayed the ships arrival was unavoidable, but am amazed that there where no information calls between 06.30 and 11.00 telling passengers about an estimated sailing time or that there would be problems if they where returning later in the day. I imagine there will be a few raised tempers in the Sea Terminal in Douglas when people present themselves for the evening sailing.
The state of the SUPERSEACAT TWP was unbelievably dirty both inside and on deck, truly the worst I have ever seen her. I have travelled with the Steam Packet on many occasions but can honestly say I would think twice about travelling to the island with them again.