First of the new super-sized Spirit of Tasmania vessels floats for the first time

Published: November 24, 2023

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.

  • Are you looking forward to crossing the Bass Strait on the new vessels? Comment below.

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I trust that Lithium ion battery pack EVs are banned from the ferry.

There’s no greater risk of fire from EVs than from internal combustion vehicles – in fact the fire risk for EVs is lower.

Yes I’m looking forward to the new vessels but I’m hoping there will be better arrangements for dogs travelling too.

If you don’t like the arrangements for animals either leave it at home or don’t go. You people that travel with animals think they should be allowed to do what they do at their place of residence. Well get a life. They don’t on the road and that includes travelling inside a van on the road which is totally illegal. Have respect for other travellers who don’t travel with their animals.

Say Whaaat??? Down boy down! This is doggie hate speech, aka snarling, so here’s a bone or or 2 for you to chew on to get your hackles down before you dig your hole any deeper 1) The area for pets IS terribly shabby and very exposed to the weather. Pets always suffer serious anxiety in those tightly stacked cages. 2) We also won’t neglect to mention the 16 polo horses who died on this ferry in 2018 because no crew checked on them for 10 hours.
The Spirit’s instransigent ‘safety first’ policy of not allowing any animal carers -even professional transporters of incredibly valuable livestock- down to the loading decks to check on or care for their animals, and leaving it all to the crew, needs review. It is to be expected that their guilty verdict in 2022 of breaching animal welfare laws in the case of the polo horses, has resulted in better voyage outcomes for humans and the animals they steward.

I agree with Micheal Ellis.As for the so called horse deaths that is still open to conjecture

Michael, I’m not here to argue just wanting to explain something. I agree that some people do take looking after dogs to extreme or just don’t care what they do and where they do it but please don’t put all people who travel with their dogs in this one bundle. Some people have great anxiety or depression or issues that the eyes can’t see and use their dog to help calm them . To the elderly they are at times their only companion and is their only source of company. Unfortunately Australia doesn’t recognise ESA (emotional support animals) along with service dogs and assistance dogs. All have purposes to help their humans and are so important in their humans life. Other countries have accepted that not all dogs are untrained and unloved. and understand a lot of animals have very important rolls in some peoples lives. Also Michael most people with ESA dogs understand they can’t get into NP, trains, planes and boats etc. it’s just nice to know that if they do need to be placed in a different area to yourself it is comfortable and away from weather ‍♀️thanks for listening

The new ships are going to have pet friendly cabins

No! My favourite was the Devil Cat from Georgetown

I remember the Sea Cat, my first ever of many crossings, we got passed Wilson’s Promontory and the Sea Cat started moving about like a cork in a bucket of water, my Mum and I were the only One’s drinking alcohol, as I got our second drinks, the Captain announced that He was turning around (rough and large sea’s) and heading back to Port Welshpool. We left the next morning, it was almost a Millpond, but many People were still quite sick – maybe they shouldn’t drink before going on such a small boat.
I have recently been to and from Tasmania, again – have Family and many Friends and will move back, eventually, it’s a Great Place to be…

Yes l am eagerly waiting for the new boat and would love to sail on her

Living, in Tassy, often used the old, “Empess Of Tasmania”, to travel to Victoria, back in the 70’s
She was, a grand old ship , now a ferry in Europe somewhere,

I think you’ll find it was the Empress of Australia. There was a Princess of Tasmania.

Too old to be a ferry anywhere now. Both those ships are long gone.

The Empress of Tasmania sank in the Malacca strait on August 23rd 1992. She was rammed by aTaiwanese fishing vessel, resulting in thirty deaths.

I hope it has been planned better than our new Antarctic research vessel?

Yes, already booked passage for 2024

Yes cant wait to travel on the new spirit of tasmania

Looking forward to going on the New Spirits .shame on Rebecca White for her Very Negative reporting .the government is doing a great Job

A huge fan of all things Tasmanian! Hold that gate, we’re on our way!

40% larger, with all the new modern features, plus a new dock in Geelong $135 million, a new dock in Devonport coming $250 million, the living city buildings $250 billion in Devonport. Upgraded fibre, to the curb internet, 5G mobile in Devonport, this follows $250 million to increase the capacity of the Toll freighter ships, by 40%, for the Burnie. rail hub, new intercity buses.

The new A220 airliners, will be flying every week, from Devonport airport, to Sydney direct every week,, many new shop, coming to Devonport, the racecourse being turned into housing, buses now flow, from Devonport, on the hour every hour, for an hour, to Burnie. No wonder it’s hard to get a rental in Devonport, I have relatives coming in from Canada, I’m going to Taiwan, to ride the high speed trains. Tyranny of distance, where have you gone, non stop flights to Europe from Sydney in a couple of years and to North East North America. Turn up and go Metro trains, every 4 minutes in Sydney, every 2+1/2 minutes from Heathrow airport, every 7+1/2 minutes from Sydney airport.

No. I’d rather fly!

No. Crossing Bass Strait in wild weather on a ship, with a bow design like that, doesn’t make me keen to be aboard, when she’s shipping ’em green!

That’s the best bow design for rough water. They’re faster than anything that crosses that water.

We would like to see Tassie locals given priority for vehicle transport to and from the Mainland so that we could be afforded the same opportunities to drive interstate without sometimes months of waiting to get on board return fees of $1500,00. It doesn’t cost anything to drive from Victoria to New South Wales.

Well it’s like country folk complaining about crappy phone and internet service. If you aren’t happy with your lot, move to the city/mainland. I for one am upset that when I wake up in Melbourne I can’t see rolling meadows and hear the cows mooing

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul

I’m looking forward to the new spirit of Tassie ships. I would like to see a discounted rate for Tasmanian residents,their vehicles and accommodation, it is expensive when I use the SOT at least 4 times a year.

They must operate out of Sydney as well

Once, not any more. YES! And it was a fantastic trip. Sadly, those days are gone. Should have had Her berthed down Botany Bay rather than Sydney harbour.

Been tried and failed. That’s how we lost SOT3.

Definately looking forward to going again via the new Spirit of Tasmania !

That’s been tried. We lost the third ferry when that idea flopped.

Yes very much

Absolutely but do hope thay have put TVs or radios in every room not just the queen size cabins and also put the electric plugs next to beds .

Since S o T has relocation to Geelong for departure I won’t be using it. This move adds too much travel time for me living on the Mornington Peninsula. Very disappointed.

Why don’t you catch the ferry from Sorrento then only short trip to Geelong

Will be excellent to travel on a new ship

Get the ferry across to the Bellarine quicker than driving to port Melbourne

I heard there were to be better arrangements for dogs really hope so as we would love to go to Tassie with ours and won’t go with the current dog accommodation.

Leave pets at home.

On our last voyage we had to park right next to the kennels and were deafened by loud barking from distressed animals. The noise was so bad it caused us pain. Why should we have to put up with this noise pollution?


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