The state government has decided that the replacement Spirit of Tasmania vessels will chiefly be built overseas.
It comes after a taskforce was established to investigate whether all or parts of the new ferries could be built in Australia.
The vessel replacement taskforce's final report was handed down this afternoon, with the government announcing it had opted to go down the path that TT-Line had originally identified as the most appropriate one.
Western Australian shipbuilder and defence prime contractor Austal has been pitching hard to build the replacement ships, and has been aided by Liberal-linked lobby group Font PR in its efforts to persuade the government.
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Meanwhile, Hobart-based shipbuilder Incat also threw its hat in the ring, proposing to build twin-hull catamarans.
The taskforce's report identified three options for the replacement of the Spirits:
- OPTION 1: A shipbuilder is selected to build and supply two steel monohull vessels where some construction is in Australia and involves businesses in Tasmania.
- OPTION 2: Allow for an assessment of the viability of very large aluminium multi-hull vessels with the intention of commissioning these vessels if they prove viable.
- OPTION 3: A shipbuilder is selected to build and supply two steel monohull vessels constructed overseas.
Of the third option, the report noted: "TT-Line can retain its current operating model, while securing sufficient additional passenger, vehicle and freight capacity."
"The international shipbuilder would be advised that the government would consider, in assessing any proposed contract, the commitment to involve Australian, including Tasmanian, firms in the construction of the vessels," the report read.
"These opportunities are expected to be substantially less than under options where the vessels are constructed fully, or partly, in Australia."
The report also highlighted "some significant risks" under the third option, including that the selected shipbuilder may not fulfill the contract due to financial difficulties.
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