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King Edward VIII Pier upgrade project

What’s going on?

Alterations are being made to King Edward VIII Pier in Douglas Harbour.

Two new large steel dolphin piles will be positioned at the end of the pier.

Three new 100-ton mooring bollards will be installed close to the linkspan.

Modifications will be made to the fenders, which prevent a vessel from colliding with the harbour wall.

Repairs will also be made to the pier wall, and rock bags will be placed underwater against the foot of the wall to provide scour protection for the pier.

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Why is it being done?


The improvements are necessary due to the arrival of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s new vessel, Manxman, and form part of the Harbours Strategy approved by Tynwald in 2018.

While Manxman has been designed specifically for Douglas Harbour and can be berthed and manoeuvred exactly as planned, it is 8 metres longer and 3m 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.

Manxman is more powerful than the Ben-my-Chree and improved scour protection measures are needed to protect the pier wall from the effects of water propulsion as the vessel manoeuvres.

When’s it happening?

Work got under way in early September 2023 and, following delays caused by issues encountered around the installation of the two mooring dolphin piles at the end of the pier, is expected to be completed by early summer. On-site activity takes place mainly around twice daily sailings during normal working hours.

Who’s doing it?

Contractors McLaughlin and Harvey. The Northern Irish company undertakes projects across the British Isles in various sectors including healthcare, education, industrial, retail, sports venues, transport, environmental, marine, commercial, residential and leisure.

Will it be noisy?

Piling is often undertaken in projects of this type, and results in a repetitive banging sound, but this is being avoided.

Drilling will instead be used to enable the installation of the bollards and large diameter dolphins, with noise being kept to a minimum.

There will be some plant movement, as you’d expect from any construction project.

Full consideration will be given to nearby residents at every stage.

How much will it cost?

The project is included in the Budget capital programme with £6.61m allocated.

Will the Ben-my-Chree be able to use the berth after the work is completed?

When the works are completed, the berth will remain suitable for all of the existing Steam Packet fleet: Manxman, Ben-my-Chree, Manannan and Arrow.

How will it affect ferry passengers?

Foot passengers will notice that part of the enclosed passenger walkway along the quayside will be diverted in order to create space for the works to take place. The interior walls will feature details of the project.

Will the work affect the movements of fishing boats, leisure craft or other harbour users?

Harbour users have been made aware of the work that’s taking place and enquiries are dealt with by staff in the Marine Operations Centre in the Sea Terminal.

Who should I contact if I have a question?

Call McLaughlin & Harvey on 07468 356263 or email

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Government Communication Service. 

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