The efforts to build new ro-ro passenger ships for the operations between Australian and Tasmania took a new turn with the announcement that the Premier of Tasmania has decided not to support the proposed order with a Finish shipbuilder and instead calling for efforts to explore local opportunities to build the planned new ships. The decision, which is a setback for European shipbuilders and an opportunity for Australian shipyards, is the latest development in the effort that dates back to 2017 to replace the current ships running between Melbourne, Australia and Devonport, Tasmania.
Operated by TT-Line Company, the 9 to 11-hour voyage is currently maintained by two ferries originally built in 1998 at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Turku, Finland to operate in the Greek Islands. The ships, known today as the Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II, were acquired and began operating the runs across the Bass Strait carrying passengers, cars, and freight in September 2002.
In 2018, TT-Line announced that after presenting its plans to the Tasmania government, an order had been placed with Germany’s Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) for two new ro-ro ships with increase cargo capacity and modern passenger amenities to begin service in 2021. At the time, TT-Line chairman Mike Grainger said “In preparing a business case for the Tasmanian Government, TT-Line Company Pty Ltd exhaustively assessed vessel types and fleet configurations to determine the most suitable vessels to operate daily crossings on Bass Strait.”
FSG was selected due to its reputation for building quality vessels of this type. The design specifications called for two 212-meter long vessels accommodating 1,800 passengers and up to 600 passenger vehicles.
The plans were first put in jeopardy by FSG’s financial difficulties. After initially voicing support for FSG, TT-Line later announced that it had agreed with the yard that they would not proceed with the order. The line instead signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rauma Marine Constructions in Finland for the planned new vessels.
Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein however announced today that as they are seeking to rebuild Tasmania with the local economies impacted by COVID-19 that he instead wanted to explore local capabilities for the new vessels. “We have a choice right now to invest around $850 million offshore in Europe, or to explore all our options in this new post-COVID-19 environment to maximize benefits for Australian and Tasmanian businesses and the people they employ,” the premier said. He announced the formation of a task force to explore the local opportunities, noting that the current vessels can continue to operate safely and efficiently into the future.
TT-Line’s Grainger responded to the government announcement by saying, “The decision is not a reflection of the quality of the business case developed by TT-Line, nor the ability of RMC to deliver the proposed contracts. He continued, “The Government and TT-Line still believe it is essential that the vessels are replaced in coming years to support the growing passenger and freight transport needs of the state.”
The government said that it remains committed to building two new ships within its 2028 timeline.
The current Spirit of Tasmania II – courtesy Spirit of Tasmania
Currently, due to the current outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria, Tasmanian borders remain closed and while the vessels are maintaining service there are restrictions. Travel is limited to Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania; essential travelers to Tasmania; freight operators; and passengers traveling to the mainland from Tasmania. Tasmanian residents who have spent time in Victoria within 14-days prior to travel are being quarantined in a government facility. Currently, Spirit of Tasmania is accepting bookings for travel to Tasmania beginning on September 1.
In the twelve months ended in October 2019, Spirit of Tasmania carried a record of 446,869 passengers and record freight volumes. The vessels operated a record 169 days at sea completing a total of 867 sailings.
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
The First DP2, Twin-Hulled SOV in the World, NB72 Groene Wind met the Sea on September 29. 2020 in Yalova, Turkey. The Groene Wind will be directly chartered to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy for the maintenance of the Rentel and Mermaid & Seastar (known as SeaMade) offshore wind farms in Belgium. This is the first DP2, […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]