Posted on October 31, 2022
The keel laying ceremony of Spirit of Tasmania IV was celebrated today in Rauma shipyard. The ceremony marked the beginning of the vessel’s construction in the construction dock. Rauma Marine Constructions is building two Spirit of Tasmania car and passenger ferries for the Tasmanian TT-Line Company, which are set to operate on the challenging open sea route between mainland Australia and Tasmania. The project is the biggest single foreign sale between Finland and Australia and signals a strong 2023 for RMC.
A significant player in maritime transport between mainland Australia and Tasmania, TT-Line has commissioned two identical Spirit of Tasmania vessels from RMC. The large-scale project is the biggest individual foreign sale between Australia and Finland. The project will create a total of around 3,500 person-years’ worth of employment at the Rauma shipyard.
”Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the design and production of the Spirit of Tasmania vessels have proceeded according to the agreed schedule. The keel laying of the project’s first vessel is a wonderful demonstration of this. The good progression of the project is also a sign of a strong next year. We expect our turnover to grow significantly in 2023”, says Mika Heiskanen, CEO of RMC.
Spirit of Tasmania CEO and Managing Director Bernard Dwyer says it is an exciting time for the company.
“This keel laying ceremony is another important milestone for the project that takes us one step closer to having new vessels crossing Bass Strait. We’re excited to join our partners RMC for the occasion and celebrate the build for Spirit of Tasmania IV tracking on time for delivery in the first quarter of 2024.”
“The arrival of the two new ferries in Australia in 2024 will be a significant moment for the company,” Dwyer says.
“Forty per cent larger than the current vessels, the investment we are making in these vessels is a once in a generation event that will deliver important benefits to Tasmania’s visitor economy and the broader economy.”
The keel of the vessel weighs 230 metric tons
The traditional keel laying ceremony celebrates the official first step in the ship’s construction, marking in effect the birth of the ship. The keel block of a ship is lowered into the construction dock, and customary lucky coins are placed under it. Spirit of Tasmania’s massive L-222 keel weighs approximately 230 metric tons.
Currently, the Spirit of Tasmania-named vessels carry around 450,000 passengers each year. The new vessels will operate on an extremely challenging route across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria, and Devonport, Tasmania. The ferries have been specially designed to undertake this specific route.
The vessels will hold 1,800 passengers each and their gross tonnage will be approximately 48,000 metric tons. The new vessels will replace the Finnish-built sister ships from the 1990s.
Construction of the first vessel will be completed at the start of 2024 and the second in late 2024.
Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) is one of Europe’s leading shipbuilding companies. The Rauma-based company, founded in summer 2014, is fully under Finnish ownership. RMC specialises in the construction and maintenance of car and passenger ferries, icebreakers and defense vessels. More information at www.rmcfinland.fi.
Spirit of Tasmania is one of Australia’s most iconic travel experiences and a vital connection between mainland Australia and the island state of Tasmania. Twin ships, Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II, operate overnight sailings across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania. Transporting more than 450,000 passengers annually, Spirit of Tasmania is widely recognised for its contribution to the Australian tourism industry and for fostering Australia’s economic development through the provision of a world-class passenger and freight service. Since its inception, Spirit of Tasmania has continued to grow steadily through its commitment to safety, reliability and in delivering an unparalleled level of customer service. www.spiritoftasmania.com.au