The first of the new Bass Strait passenger, passenger vehicle and freight vessels, Spirit of Tasmania IV, has been officially named and launched at a ceremony at shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions’ (RMC) yard in Finland.
Spirit of Tasmania’s Chairman, Michael Grainger said he was delighted to witness the launch of the first new Spirit of Tasmania vessels.
“Both Spirit of Tasmania and RMC have invested significant time on this project, and to see that culmination of effort today in the official naming and launch of the vessel was truly rewarding,” he said.
At the ceremony, Mrs Deborah Grainger, wife of Spirit of Tasmania’s Chairman, formally named the ship Spirit of Tasmania IV and broke a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine on the ship’s bow.
The maritime ceremony to name the ship is a long-standing tradition that brings good fortune to the vessel on her voyages.
After the naming ceremony Mrs Grainger, members of the RMC and Spirit of Tasmania project teams and other VIPs opened multiple valves to let water flow into the dry dock which eventually saw the ship float for the first time.
Mrs Grainger said she was honoured to be part of the ceremony.
“It was a real honour to be involved in the official naming ceremony and to mark the occasion by breaking a bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine across the bow,” she said.
“Using a bottle of Tasmanian wine was also very fitting given these ships are Tasmanian.”
Spirit of Tasmania IV is one of two new vessels ordered by Spirit of Tasmania to replace the existing Bass Strait passenger, passenger vehicle and freight ships.
The vessels will have an overall length of 212-metres and a beam of 31-metres, compared to the current ships that are 194.33-metres-long overall with a beam of 25-metres.
Spirit of Tasmania’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Dwyer said the new vessels were the first purpose-built for Spirit of Tasmania for operation on Bass Strait.
“These ships are much bigger than the current vessels – they have substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight – and will be a major contributor to Tasmania’s visitor economy and the broader Tasmanian economy for many years to come,” he said.
“The new vessels will feature up to $100 million in Tasmanian and Australian content.
“A number of contracts have been awarded to Tasmanian firms including for the provision of catering and hotel equipment, marine fire safety insulation material, carpet, marine blinds, arcade games, water filling stations, artwork and beer and post mix system equipment.”