The gov has backed down in its row with the Steam Packet over Manx based crews being required to isolate after finishing a shift at sea.

It follows what both parties said were ‘constructive talks’ between the gov and the Steam Packet this week. The new arrangements have been approved by the island’s Director of Public Health Dr Ewart.

It emerged during a recent press briefing that Steam Packet crews were not isolating, with the company insisting its Manx based crews didn’t have to, while the gov, including Chief Min HQ and Public Health Director Dr Ewart, said they did.

Last week, it was announced that crew members will have priority access to the island’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. On Wednesday 69 crew members received their first dose. This offers an additional layer of protection that has the potential to reduce the likelihood of crew members who may have the virus from passing it on to others.  

A new testing regime will also be introduced to ensure that the infection status of crew members can be regularly monitored.  Crew will be tested at the beginning and the end of each shift.

The risk assessments already in place for Steam Packet vessels have also been reviewed.  These set out the requirements for crew and passengers, including the use of PPE, social distancing, and the interaction between Isle of Man and UK based crew members.

Taking the new measures into account and acknowledging that the risk profiles of Isle of Man and UK based crew differ, Isle of Man-based crew members will not have to self-isolate when returning to the island. UK-based crew will still be required to self-isolate. 

Both parties will continue to engage on a regular basis and ensure that the measures agreed remain practical and effective in protecting the island.