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PW1320 TSS Ben-my-Chree V


PW1320 TSS Ben-my-Chree V

 TSS “Ben-my-Chree (V)”
Built by Cammell Laird & Co.(Shipbuilders & Engineers) Ltd Birkenhead for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Ltd, Douglas, Isle of Man.
2,725 grt, Length Overall 344.0 feet, breadth moulded 50 feet.
Powered by twin Pametrada Steam Turbines driving twin propellers via double reduction gearing.
Speed 21.472 knots(trials)
Passengers as built 1,400 crew 68, and 80 cars.
Official number 186355 Call Sign: G R X Y
Allocated yard number 1320, she was ordered in April 1964,her keel being laid on no.2 berth north yard on the12thNovember 1964. She was launched on 10thDecember 1965 by Mrs Margaret Brownsdon wife of a Director of IOMSP Co,her trials taking place between 9th to 11thMay 1966 on the Skelmorlie measured mile,Firth of Clyde.
Following successful trials her maiden voyage was on12thMay 1966 from Liverpool to Douglas.
The second passenger car ferry to be built following the success of the “Manx Maid “2 she incorporated several improvements over her sister.
On the day of her launching, her 1927 built predecessor was berthed in Morpeth Dock, Birkenhead awaiting departure to Belgian breakers.
Within two weeks of making her maiden voyage she and her sister were laid up at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria owing to the National Seaman’s Strike, not making a re-appearance until 1st July that year.
On 2nd September 1973 she was the first car ferry in the Manx fleet to visit the North Wales resort of  Llandudno, an occurrence not repeated until May 1997 with the motor vessel “Lady of Mann”(2).On 7thSeptember 1974 in the vicinity of the Mersey Bar she was damaged by a freak wave on passage from Liverpool to Douglas during Force 11 sea conditions.
In the autumn of 1977 she was fitted with a steam powered bow thrust unit and during the following year’s winter overhaul again at Manchester, fitted with the triple bell steam whistle from “Tynwald”(5).
She operated on all of the Company’s routes during her career but was withdrawn from service on 19thSeptember 1984.
Despite being provisionally sold to a leisure company based in Jacksonville, Florida,USA, she was temporarily reactivated for two weeks during June 1985 to assist with TT traffic making several passages between Douglas and Heysham, much to the delight of enthusiasts.
Following this brief Indian Summer in her relatively short career, she returned to Birkenhead remaining there until August 1989 when she was sold for scrapping, the sale to USA interests having fallen through. She was towed by the tug“Hollygarth” out of the river on the evening of 16thAugust 1989 bound for Santander,Spain.
She is depicted on passage to the Firth of Clyde on 9th May 1966 to undergo Sea Trials