Works begins on Douglas pier

King Edward VIII pier is being strengthened for the imminent arrival of a new ferry

The alterations to King Edward VIII pier include the installation of two large steel piles around the end of the pier, as well as the installation three new 100-ton mooring bollards close to the linkspan.

McLaughlin & Harvey will also modify the fenders that prevent vessels damaging the harbour wall.

The improvements are in preparation for the arrival of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new ferry, Manxman, a larger vessel that is replacing MV Ben-my-Chree.

While Manxman has been designed specifically for Douglas Harbour and can be berthed and manoeuvred exactly as planned, it is eight metres longer and three metres wider than the Ben-my-Chree and weighs almost twice as much – 24,161 tonnes compared to 12,504 tonnes.

Fenders and mooring bollards will therefore be replaced and strengthened to reduce the risk of damage to both the pier and new vessel during Force 10 winds.

Works also include repairs to the pier wall, and the placement of rock bags to provide protection for the pier from underwater scour caused by the fast moving water around the vessel’s propellers.

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Work has started this week and is scheduled for completion in the new year.

Douglas Harbour
Douglas Harbour

Chief minister Alfred Cannan MHK said: “The arrival of the Manxman and its entry into service marks an exciting time in our modern maritime history. Existing facilities are able to accommodate the vessel under benign conditions but must be updated in order to protect Manxman and its berth from very high winds. The boat’s greater size compared to the Ben-my-Chree has been noted by many since its arrival but its substantial weight difference is a critical factor in making these changes as we head into winter.”

He added, “Protecting and improving our national infrastructure is key to delivering the aims of Our Island Plan and this once-in-a-generation project will serve our community well for many years to come.”

McLaughlin & Harvey project director Gareth Brennan said: “We bring with us extensive experience in the marine sector and look forward to engaging with our local supply chain and creating jobs locally. Over the next couple of weeks, we will undertake the temporary diversion of the existing passenger walkway to facilitate the project along with mobilisation of plant and materials to construct the new berthing and fender dolphins.”

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