A member of staff at the Steam Packet has told Gef the crew feel ‘let down’ by the gov and are in ‘disbelief’ to hear they were expected to isolate themselves for the past year.

Since we spoke to the crew member, the gov has announced that the Steam Packet’s Manx based crew have been added to the priority list for vaccinations, with staff being invited for vaccines as of today.

The crew member, who we agreed not to identify, showed Gef exemption status letters from the gov alongside company emails which have raised questions as to exactly what conditions were expected of the crews. This matter was only highlighted during last week’s Covid press briefing, nearly 11 months after border restrictions first came into effect.

They told Gef: ‘The general feeling amongst the Manx crew is disbelief and feeling let down by the government, we are key workers we live on an island and there will always be a minimal amount of risk to provide our island with the essentials it needs to function. 

‘It would be an idea to investigate Channel Islands procedure for ferry crews as they seem to have it right.  We have worked hard through the pandemic wearing a mask for 12 hour shifts in rough weather, lashing cargo trailers to make sure our islanders have as much of a normal life as possible.’

They said that the crews have been told they have the ‘full backing of the company’ and will be challenging the government on their statements along with writing individual statements to be sent to the Council of Ministers when they meet with the Steam Packet’s board. 

It was also revealed that crews had raised the issue of being given the vaccine with Health Minister David Ashford, but he said the gov would be sticking to the JCVI recommendations on prioritisation. However, since the cases onboard the Ben-my-Chree the gov has changed this approach and will now be offering jabs to the Steam Packet’s crew.

The crew member told Gef: ‘We feel truly victimized and criminalized from the previous two government briefings. All Manx crew are in objection with their comments.’