With a record number of passengers crossing the Bass Strait on Spirit of Tasmania boats last year, it’s probably true to say that the arrival of the much larger replacement vessels can’t come soon enough.
But, happily, there shouldn’t be too much longer to wait. In fact, the first of the new ferries, the Spirit of Tasmania IV, has just been officially named and launched at a ceremony at shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions’ yard in Finland.
After a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine was broken on the ship’s bow and it was officially named, multiple valves were opened to let water flow into the dry dock which eventually saw the ship float for the first time.
Spirit of Tasmania’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Dwyer, said the new vessels were the first purpose-built for Spirit of Tasmania for operation on the Bass Strait.
“These ships are much bigger than the current vessels – they have substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight – and will be a major contributor to Tasmania’s visitor economy and the broader Tasmanian economy for many years to come,” he said.
The vessels will have an overall length of 212 metres and a beam of 31 metres, compared to the current ships that are 194.33 metres long overall with a beam of 25 metres.
TT-Line is hoping to take possession of the two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels next year, although there have been some reports of some delays due to a shortage of both labour and steel.
In the 2022-23 financial year, more than 450,000 people crossed the Bass Strait in Spirit of Tasmania vessels.
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