Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

110 FERRY ORDER BOOK All eyes on Tasmania The ferry industry travels to Australia’s Island State this year for the 47th Interferry conference in Hobart, but that is not the only reason Tasmania is on the ferry map, as Justin Merrigan explains in his usual global round-up of ferry orders Tasmanian government-owned ferry line TT-Line Company, which trades as Spirit of Tasmania, will host Interferry’s annual conference in Hobart in November 2023. As the company welcomes ferry industry delegates from all over the world, it will be edging closer to the completion of two new 1,800-passenger ro-pax cruise ferries, which are under construction at Rauma Marine Construction’s (RMC) yard in Rauma, Finland. RMC laid the keel for the first ship, Spirit of Tasmania IV, in October 2022 and cut the steel for Spirit of Tasmania V in December. Specifically designed to operate on the challenging route across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria, in mainland Australia and Devonport, Tasmania, the vessels will be 40 per cent larger than the two sister ships they are replacing – Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II. The first ferry will be completed at the start of 2024 and the second will be finished later that same year. With an overall length of 212 metres and a beam of 31 metres, the vessels are the first the company will own that are purpose built for the Bass Strait. “As the new dimensions indicate, these ships are much bigger than the current vessels – featuring substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight – and will be a major contributor for the economy of Tasmania for 30 years to come,” says Bernard Dwyer, managing director and CEO of TT-Line Company. Hobart-based high-speed craft designer and builder Incat Tasmania has also been in the global ferry spotlight due to its partnership with long-term South American customer Buquebús. In 2022, Incat Tasmania cut the first plate for the operator’s new 130-metre fast catamaran – the ninth vessel it has built for Buquebús. When it debuts in 2025, it will be the world’s largest aluminium ferry, with capacity for 2,100 passengers and 220 cars, and will operate between Argentina and Uruguay. Initially, the ferry was intended as a dual-fuel craft, the second such vessel to be built by Incat Tasmania. However, Incat Tasmania and Buquebús are now advancing to use battery-electric power so it can be the world’s first large, lightweight, zero-emissions ferry. Meanwhile in Europe, Scotland’s Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) placed a £91 million ($109 million) order for two new battery hybrid ro-pax ferries with Turkey’s Cemre Shipyard in 2021. By January 2023, Cemre had laid the keel for the first vessel and cut the steel for the second, putting it on track to deliver them for operator Caledonian MacBrayne’s Islay operation in October 2024 and early 2025, respectively. “The team at Cemre is delivering each stage within the agreed timeline,” says Kevin Hobbs, chief executive of CMAL. “I’m sure this will be welcome news for island communities to see the build programme get underway for these muchneeded vessels.” The Scottish government has since prioritised additional funding to enable CMAL to accelerate plans for additional vessels, which will also be built at Cemre and to the same specification as the Islay ferries. This will allow CMAL to Brittany Ferries took delivery of its new LNG-powered E-Flexer Santoña, two months ahead of schedule in December 2022