Finnish Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has been selected as a new builder of TT-Line Company’s Spirit of Tasmania vessels, with German Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) shipyard now being out of the race.
The two roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) newbuilds would replace the current Spirit of Tasmania vessels on the Bass Strait.
Back in 2018, TT-Line and FSG reached a shipbuilding deal for the vessel pair. However, the duo has now decided that FSG would not build TT-Line Company’s new ships.
Chairman Michael Grainger said the decision was mutually agreed by TT-Line and FSG.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added, informing that TT-Line has made no payments to FSG.
Following the cancellation of the contracts with FSG, TT-Line has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with RMC. The parties will commence contract negotiations and agree final design specifications, according to Grainger.
“This will include finalising a new delivery date, which at the moment is late 2022 for hull 1 and late 2023 for hull 2. Both delivery dates are well within the expected replacement date of 2028,” Grainger continued.
To be be built at Rauma shipyard, the vessels set to operate under the brand Spirit of Tasmania will replace the existing vessels, Spirit of Tasmania I and II (ex. Superfast III and Superfast IV), built in Turku, Finland in 1998.
The new ferries will accommodate 1,800 passengers and will have an approximate gross tonnage of 48,000. The ferries are set to operate in challenging conditions on the Melbourne, Australia – Devonport, Tasmania route.
“During the next few months, TT-Line Company and RMC are working in close cooperation to finalise the contract for the construction of the vessels. The design of the vessels will begin in the autumn of this year. The building of the vessels will begin in early 2021,” Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO, RMC said in a separate statement.