MS Ben-my-Chree

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For other ships of the same name, see Ben-my-Chree.
Ben-my-chree april 2010.jpg
Ben-my-Chree in Douglas Harbour
Name: Ben-my-Chree
Namesake: Manx: Woman of my heart
Owner: Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
Operator: Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
Port of registry: Douglas, Isle of Man
Route: DouglasHeysham
Douglas—Birkenhead (winter only)
Douglas—Dublin / Belfast
Ordered: 1997
Builder: van der Giessen de Noord, Netherlands[1]
Cost: GB£24,000,000[2]
Yard number: 971[2]
Laid down: 1997
Launched: 1998
Commissioned: 1998
Identification: IMO number: 9170705
Status: In Service
General characteristics
Tonnage: 12,747 GT[2]
Length: 125.2 m (411 ft)[2]
Beam: 23.4 m (77 ft)[2]
Draught: 5.8 m (19 ft)
Installed power: 2 × MAK 9L32 diesel engines
Propulsion: 2 × Controllable pitch propellers
2 × bow thrusters
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Capacity: Passengers: 636
Cars: 275

MV Ben-my-Chree is a Ro-Pax vessel launched in 1998. The flagship of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, she operates primarily on the Douglas-Heysham route.


Ben-my-Chree was ordered in 1997 by Sea Containers for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Costing around £24 million, she was built by van der Giessen de Noord of the Netherlands and launched on 4 April 1998. The sixth vessel to carry the name,[3] she is registered in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Brought around to the island from the Netherlands by the late Captain Vernon Kinley, Ben-my-Chree entered service on 5 July 1998, Tynwald Day - the Isle of Man's national holiday. At a gross tonnage of around 12,000, she was the largest ship to enter service with the company. The vessel received a lot of criticism due to her low passenger capacity of 500, (carrying no more than 350 per sailing), and the fact she had no open deck for passengers. The company insisted this was a "comfort level" for the vessel's size. Subsequently, the islanders have warmed to the vessel.

In 2004 the vessel underwent a refit carried out by Cammell Laird to increase passenger capacity with the addition of a new passenger module.[4] In 2014 Ben-my-Chree underwent a £1.6 million refit also carried out by Cammell Laird.[5]


On 25 July 2008, Ben-my-Chree suffered a technical failure, with the Viking taking her Heysham sailing until she was repaired.

On the evening of 1 May 2013 when arriving in Douglas Harbour from Heysham, Ben-my-Chree struck part of the King Edward Pier Linkspan, Number 5 berth. In the collision part of the ship was slightly damaged, meaning the evening departure to Heysham was cancelled. Passengers were transferred to the Liverpool service. Ben-my-Chree re-entered service the following day with a freight-only service to Heysham and was back in full service at 19.45 the same day.[6]

Design and construction[edit]

Ben-my-Chree is a Ro-Pax ferry, largely designed to carry freight, with two vehicle decks (decks 3 and 5) and two passenger accommodation decks (7 and 8). There are 20 four-berth cabins and crew accommodation for 22.[7] Her freight capacity is 200 vehicles (1235m).[2]

A refit during her first winter improved passenger accommodation. Reclining chairs were added in the forward and aft lounges and partitions added between the restaurant and bar areas.[7] In 2004, a major refit allowed her to carry a full capacity of 636 passengers. A new accommodation section containing the Legends café/bar, Niarbyl Quiet Lounge and toilets was added. The refit also created an outside deck space and modified the vessel's stern door. Another refit in April 2008, included a new livery and internal refit.

The Royal New Zealand Navy multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury was based on Ben-my-Chree's design, and entered service in 2007.

Onboard facilities[edit]

The Ben-my-Chree's passenger facilities are centred around the main passenger area on Deck 7.

Deck 7

  • Coast-to-Coast café
  • Junior Shipmates children's play area
  • Legends café/bar
  • Ocean Avenue shop
  • Manannan Premium Lounge
  • Niarbyl Reserved Lounge
  • Passengers with dogs lounge

Deck 8

  • Manannan Executive Lounge
  • Passenger cabins
  • Outside deck


On 16 July 2008, Ben-my-Chree completed 10 years of Manx service. She operates primarily on the Douglas - Heysham route, with occasional services to Belfast, Birkenhead and Dublin.

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "Ben-My-Chree". Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ben-My-Chree" (PDF). IHC Merwede. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Ben-My-Chree VI; the First Ten Years". Ships of Mann. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "BEN-MY-CHREE". Cammell Laird. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "£1.6M BEN-MY-CHREE OVERHAUL PROGRESSING WELL". Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Ben-My-Chree" (PDF). IHC Merwede. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Ben-My-Chree". Retrieved 1 July 2012.