There are continued concerns over the money and time invested in TT-Line’s partnership with financially troubled German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, who are contracted to deliver two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels in 2021.
With the full extent of shipbuilder’s financial troubles unknown for up to two months, according to TT-Line chairman Mike Grainger, Labor has called on the government to act now to secure the on-time delivery of the vessels.
Industry reports said the shipbuilder was more than six months late delivering the W. B. Yeats to Irish Ferries, a similar passenger and freight vessel to those which been contracted by the government.
The late delivery was controversial in Ireland, with operators and passengers inconvenienced and FSG reportedly hit with hefty penalties.
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure David O’Byrne said the late delivery of the W. B. Yeats reinforced Labor’s concerns about the future delivery of the Spirit vessels.
“It is incorrect to state that no money has been spent with the shipyard, we know that TT-Line representatives have spent a lot of time on this project including multiple trips overseas and many meetings with the shipyard,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Minister Rockliff must reveal what resources have been spent on this shipbuilder to date and what his government is doing to secure this contract.”
Minister for Infrastructure Jeremy Rockliff did not say he had confidence in the shipyard and instead reiterated the previous government comment that the contract with FSG is still in place.
“I’ve received no advice to date the terms of the contract have not been met,” Mr Rockliff said.
“As TT-Line demonstrated Thursday, they will be doing due diligence in terms of that eventuality but we’re not at that point at this stage.”
Mr Grainger said TT-Line was in constant discussions with FSG about their situation, however also said the company was speaking to two alternative shipyards in the event the current contract can not be completed.