First Isle of Man vessel departs £70m terminal

Isle of Man fast craft Manannan departs the new £70m Isle of Man ferry terminal on Liverpool waterfront for the first time as the facility finally opens to passengers. Tony McDonough reports

Steam Packet fast craft Manannan at the Isle of Man terminal on the first day of opening


Passengers have started using the new Isle of Man ferry terminal on Liverpool waterfront for the first time with the first departure taking place on Tuesday evening.

Isle of Man Steam Packet fast craft Manannan departed the new terminal, just north of the Pier Head on the Mersey, at 7.15pm. Manx News reported there were some teething issues with the passenger gangway

Although work on the terminal was completed earlier this year the Isle of Man Government, which owns the facility, needed to conduct berthing trials using Manannan. It then delayed the opening until after the busy TT Races period.

Speaking at the terminal Isle of Man Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall said: “Watching passengers using the terminal for the first time was fantastic to witness.

“What’s been created is a bright, modern, fit-for-purpose facility which will ensure the travelling public will continue to be delivered into the heart of Liverpool, a city with such strong historic connections to the Island, for many generations to come.

“This project has seen its share of challenges, but to have it finally completed and operational marks a significant moment in our modern maritime history.’

Seeing the terminal finally open to passengers will be a relief to the Isle of Man Government and the Steam Packet company. Work began in 2019 and the project has been dogged with delays and rising costs. The original cost was around £38m.

In May LBN revealed almost 69,000 passengers travelled on Isle of Man Steam Packet ferries in the first quarter of 2024 – a 21% increase on the same period in 2023.

Steam Packet operates services from Liverpool and Heysham to the Isle of Man. Services between Liverpool and the island can be as frequent as three times a day at the height of summer.


Steam Packet
Isle of Man terminal on the River Mersey


Steam Packet managing director, Brian Thomson, added: ‘Our hard working staff have been working round the clock to bring us to this point and ensure as smooth a transition as possible and we are pleased to be finally moving to the new terminal.

“The safety of passengers and crew is as always our priority and as with sailing to any new facility, it will take time for our captains, crew and staff to become fully accustomed to the terminal, and rectify any teething issues.

“We’d like to thank passengers in advance for their patience and understanding while we get used to the new Liverpool terminal.”

READ MORE: Mersey Ferries services remain suspended

In 2023 the company carried more than 623,000 passengers and 196,000 vehicles, the highest numbers for 16 years. This year has also seen the introduction of Manannan’s new sister vessel, the £76m Manxman which completed its maiden voyage in August 2023.

Built in Ulsan, South Korea, Manxman has capacity for up to 948 people, as well as 10% more capacity for vehicles. It is currently operating the service between Douglas in the Isle of Man and Heysham in Lancashire.

It has been bought to replace the veteran Steam Packet vessel Ben-my-Chree which has been seen regularly on the Mersey over the years. In late 2024 or 2025 it is expected Manxman will also operate services between Douglas and Liverpool.

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