A 194.8-metre vessel is the cause of uncertainty around the timeline plaguing TT-Line and the state’s Infrastructure Minister.
It was revealed last week that shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft’s delayed-delivery of the roll-on, roll-off passenger and freight ship could also delay TT-Line’s two new vessels.
FSG has been around since 1872 and launched more than 750 vessels.
The German company also has experience building ships to sail the Bass Strait, with the Searoad Mersey II built at its Flensburg shipyard.
Two new Spirits were a key component of Labor’s election campaign in 2010. It was pledged the new ships would enter Tasmanian waters by 2014. Then-Infrastructure Minister Lara Giddings announced that the timeline had been pushed out by three years due factors beyond the government’s control.
“Uncertainty in international shipping environmental requirements... now make it preferable to revert to TT-Lines’ guide date of 2017,” she said at the time.
The Liberal Government, which is now in its second term, has experienced a further delay with getting the ships built.
With the news FSG is experiencing a slow turnaround, there is increased pressure to have these ships built and improving, the growing, tourist experience.
TT-Line chairman Michael Grainger said a delay would not impact the use of the current vessels. He also said no payments had been made.
Pressure is now on Infrastructure Minister Jeremy Rockliff to reveal when he knew about issues relating to FSG. This is a fair question to be answered as TT-Line is a government-owned business. It’s important to explain to the people who are paying for the ships the steps explored and taken in the past and into the future.
Mr Rockliff has said he received no advice to date that the terms of the contract have not been met. This uncertainty has not been well received, but we also must not throw the baby out with the bath water.
The goal is to get the best deal for Tasmania and deliver the new Spirits.