The current Spirit of Tasmania ferries will continue to operate until their replacements are delivered (Image: Spirit of Tasmania)
Australian operator TT-Line has cancelled Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft’s (FSG) contract to construct its two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels, in a decision that was mutually agreed by both companies.
“While we respect there has been significant Tasmanian community interest, it was imperative the company followed its legal advice to protect the interests of the state of Tasmania at all times,” said Michael Grainger, chairman of TT-Line. “The firm advice was that neither TT-Line nor the government could make public comment regarding the contract details or the status of ongoing conversations with FSG until now. No payments to FSG have been made, and no payments will be made.”
TT-Line has now been in contact with Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), which was shortlisted in the original procurement process for the vessels.
“Since the cancellation of the contracts with FSG, TT-Line has signed a memorandum of understanding with the RMC and will commence contract negotiations and agree final design specifications,” said Grainger. “This will include finalising a new delivery date, which currently is late 2022 for hull one and late 2023 for hull two. Both delivery dates are well within the expected replacement date of 2028.”
According to TT-line, most of the work already undertaken on the vessels will be transferrable and would be used in the detailed design phase and contract negotiations with the new shipbuilder.
Meanwhile, the existing Spirit of Tasmania vessels will continue to operate across the Bass Strait between Tasmania and the Australian mainland. The ferries have been in operation since 2002.
“Importantly, the current Spirit of Tasmania vessels are already emissions compliant as was required by 2020 and can continue to operate safely and efficiently well past 2022,” said Grainger.
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