FerriesIsle of Man Steam Packet Company (IoMSPCo)Past and Present

MV Ben-My-Chree – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9170705

MV Ben-My-Chree (VI)

© Carsten Dettmer

© Carsten Dettmer (Heysham, 14/04/2019)

Steel twin screw motor vessel, built by Van der Giessen-de Noord, Krimpen aan den IJssel, Netherlands (Yard No 971) in 1998 as Passenger/Ro-Ro Cargo Ship for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, (Sea Containers Chartering), Douglas, Isle Of Man

Technical Data

  • Length: 125.20 m (overall) 117 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth of Hull: 23.84m (extreme)
  • Depth: 14.7m
  • Draught: 5.812m (Max)
  • Tonnage: 12504 – 12747 gross/3751 net/2220 – 4168t deadweight
  • Engines: Two MaK 9L32 diesels.
  • Power: 8640 kW
  • Speed: 19.0 knots
  • Capacity: 332/500/634 passengers, 275 cars, 1235 lane metres
  • Call Sign: MXLG6
  • IMO Number: 9170705
  • Official Number:
  • MMSI Number: 234983000
  • Registry: Douglas/Isle of Man 🇮🇲
  • Sister Ships: Commodore Clipper (975)
  • Near Sisters: Dueodde (579), Hammerodde (702) 

Current AIS Location

Please note that this specific vessels AIS position data may be over an hour old and that the vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the VesselFinder AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is in no way related to the 'Safety of Navigation at Sea'. All the AIS ship position data featured within this article is provided by VesselFinder and we are therefore not responsible for its content or its accuracy.


October 28th 1997: Keel struck.

April 4th 1998: Launched as the Ben-my-Chree (Manx: “Woman of My Heart“).


© Rob de Visser

© Simonwp  © Simonwp

© Simonwp

July 3rd 1998: Delivered to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (Sea Containers Chartering), Douglas, Isle Of Man.

July 4th 1998: Left Rotterdam for Douglas.

July 6th 1998: Arrived Douglas.

July 31st 1998: Commenced Isle Of Steam Packets (IoMSPCo) services between Douglas – Heysham.

© Fotoflite

© Fotoflite

January 6th 2004 – February 5th 2004: Rebuilt at Northwestern Ship Repairers, Birkenhead with extra accommodation.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard

February 7th 2004: Resumed services Douglas – Heysham.

March 19th 2006 – April 2nd 2006: Refit.

July 25th 2008: Suffered a technical failure which resulted in her sailings being cancelled. The Viking covered her Heysham sailings until repairs were completed.

March 26th 2010: Whilst berthed at Heysham Port the vessel experienced an ‘unintended movement’, resulting in the collapse of a passenger walkway.


“On 26 March 2010, while embarking passengers and loading vehicles at Heysham, England, the ro-ro passenger ferry Ben-My-Chree moved approximately 8m along the quayside, causing serious damage to the passenger access structure. The foot-passenger walkway detached at both ends and collapsed onto the quayside, and the gangway detached from the vessel’s side shell door and was left hanging on a single rope. Fortunately, there were no injuries. Eight passengers were trapped in the gangway compartment of the shore structure and were later rescued by the local fire service.”

Ben-My-Chree had just completed an extended period of repairs in a dry dock but still had electrical faults on the main circuit breakers connecting the main engine driven shaft generators to the bow thrusters. When Ben-My-Chree called at Heysham, shore electricians rectified the faults, and in order to provide electrical power to test the bow thruster, the starboard main engine was started with its controllable pitch propeller (CPP) set to zero pitch.

The accident was caused when the chief officer, intending to carry out pre-departure control tests, set the pitch lever of both main propulsion engine CPPs to the 100% ahead position. Expecting both shafts to be stationary, he had not noticed that the starboard engine and shaft were running at sea speed with its CPP set on zero pitch. The engineer who passed control of the engines to the bridge was not fully aware of which machinery was running, and had not informed the chief officer that the starboard shaft was turning. Running the main engines in port during passenger and vehicle operations was a normal activity on board this vessel, carried out once every 3 days to facilitate water-washing of the turbochargers on the main engines. As all the mooring lines which could have restrained the vessel were set on autotension winches, the vessel surged forward as soon as the propeller thrust overcame the preset tension on the winches.”

Source: Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB)

© Robert Foy  © Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (Liverpool, 26/02/2012)

May 1st 2013: Upon entering Douglas from Heysham the Ben-my-Chree struck part of the King Edward Pier linkspan. The ship sustained damage four metres above the water line resulting in her evening departure to Heysham being cancelled.

Isle of Man ferry hits berthing fender at Douglas harbour

Steam Packet Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: “We are working with the Department of Infrastructure to assess the damage and whether this will impact on the Ben’s (Ben-my-Chree) sailings from that berth.

“It is too early to say how long it will take to repair. We will, of course, be launching an internal investigation into the incident”.

Source: BBC News

May 2nd 2013: Following emergency repairs resumed service between Douglas and Heysham.

© Dogan  © Dogan

© Dogan

© Dogan (Heysham, 25/05/2016)

February 12th 2017: Upon arrival at Douglas from Liverpool and whilst attempting to dock in high winds the vessel made contact with the King Edward Pier sustaining damage to her starboard quarter above the waterline. Her cancelled crossings were covered by the Arrow and Manannan.

Isle of Man ferry crash forces cancellation of services to UK

13 February 2017

A ferry crashed into a pier on the Isle of Man as the captain tried to dock in strong winds. Services from Douglas to the UK were disrupted after the Ben-my-Chree, which sailed from Heysham, Lancashire, struck the pier on Sunday. The Isle of Man Steam-Packet Company confirmed no passengers or crew were injured. Four crossings between Douglas and Heysham were been cancelled following the the collision.

‘Unfortunate incident’

Chief executive Mark Woodward apologised to passengers and said it was an “unfortunate incident”, adding the company would “do all we can to minimise the disruption”.

A company spokesman said that on arrival in Douglas Harbour, the Ben-my-Chree “encountered significantly stronger than forecast easterly winds” and the vessel made contact with the King Edward Pier.

He said engineers worked through the night to assess any damage and a diving inspection had been carried out.

Source: BBC News

July 28th 2018: Whilst in Douglas, suffered a small fire in her engine room. Extinguished by crew.

March 30th 2021: “Sailings were cancelled due to silt build up in Douglas Harbour.”.

May 2nd 2021: Return from refit delayed. During routine inspections of the ferry in dry dock, the stern tube bearings were found to be worn more than expected. Although the wear was within tolerances, the opportunity has been taken to address this. Due to these unplanned works, and the necessity to source a company with immediate capacity to carry out the works, the docking will be extended by about six days.

May 13th 2021: Resumed service.

© Stephen Brown

© Stephen Brown

October 30th 2022: Off service for repairs.

August 2023: Still in service.

November 1st 2023: Came off service at Douglas and sailed to Belfast for scheduled maintenance and lay-up.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (Belfast, 01/11/2023)

November 21st 2023:

Ben-my-Chree sustains ‘minor damage’ during passage to Belfast

Vessel to be drydocked whilst repairs to hull carried out

The Steam Packet says it’s ‘assessing the quickest way to fix the damage, ideally in combination with the routine annual dry docking.’

It says an internal investigation is taking place, alongside the Isle of Man Ship Registry, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Lloyds Register, to understand how the damage was caused.

The company assures at no point has the vessel or any member of crew been in danger and the MV ARROW is in place to provide ‘lifeline services’.

The Steam Packet says ‘a further update on the progress of repairs will be provided in due course.’

Manx Radio

December 11th 2023: Left Belfast for Birkenhead.

© Trevor Kidd © Trevor Kidd

© Trevor Kidd (Belfast, 11/12/2023)

December 12th 2023: Arrived Birkenhead for dry-docking.

© Robert Foy

© Robert Foy (13/12/2023)

December 30th 2023: Left Birkenhead for Douglas.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Birkenhead, 30/12/2023)

December 30th 2023: Arrived Douglas.

January 19th 2024:

According to IOMSPco Timetable BEN-MY-CHREE is expected to return to service to relief MANXMAN during February and March:

27th, 28th & 29th February

08:45, 19:45 ex IOM

14:15, 02:15 ex Heysham

5-7th March

08:45, 19:45 ex IOM

14:15, 02:15 ex Heysham

26th & 27th March

08:45, 19:45 ex IOM

14:15, 02:15 ex Heysham

March 13th 2024: Left Douglas.

March 13th 2024: Arrived Liverpool Anchorage.

March 14th 2024: Arrived Birkenhead.

© Ian Collard

© Ian Collard (Birkenhead, 14/03/2024)

April 12th 2024: Left Birkenhead for Douglas.

© Rober Foy © Rober Foy © Rober Foy

© Robert Foy (Birkenhead, 12/04/2024)

April 12th 2024: Arrived Douglas.

April 15th 2024: Return service to Heysham.

April 22nd 2024: Return service to Heysham.

April 25th 2024: Relief vessel for MANXMAN (maintenance).

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions found. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Stephen Brown, Ian Collard, Carsten Dettmer, Dogan, Fotoflite, Robert Foy, Rob De Visser,  and Andreas Wörteler for his assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Trevor Kidd

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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