Construction of the world’s southernmost LNG-powered car and passenger ferry started at Rauma, Finland – RMC to build two RoPax ferries for the open sea route between mainland Australia and Tasmania
The start of production of a passenger and vehicle ferry was celebrated today at Rauma shipyard. The construction of the Spirit of Tasmania IV, set to operate between mainland Australia and Tasmania, began with a traditional steel cutting ceremony. Even though the future route and the shipyard responsible for the construction are located on the opposite sides of the globe, trust and cooperation have been built over a long period of time.
“Although the actual construction of the first ferry started today, RMC and Spirit of Tasmania already have a long history. The pandemic, among other things, disrupted our plans, but the agreement for the vessels was re-signed in 2021. We are particularly glad that our joint journey, which has lasted more than a decade, finally reached this important milestone. Therefore, I would like to thank Spirit of Tasmania for trusting our local expertise in shipbuilding,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and president of RMC.
The twin Spirit of Tasmania vessels will be constructed in Rauma. When finished, they will be the southernmost vessels to operate with LNG. In addition, the vessels will have a dual fuel solution, which will allow them to use other, alternative fuels, if needed.
Spirit of Tasmania (TT-Line Company), the purchaser of the vessels, is a significant player in maritime transport between mainland Australia and Tasmania. Currently, the Spirit of Tasmania-named vessels carry around 450,000 passengers each year. The new vessels will operate 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 similarly Finnish-built sister ships from the 1990s. The first vessel will be finished in late 2023 and the second in late 2024.
Bernard Dwyer, CEO and Managing Director of Spirit of Tasmania says “This is a significant moment for Tasmania and for the Tasmanian economy. When completed, the vessel’s arrival in late 2023 will mark the start of a new era for passenger travel and freight transport across Bass Strait,” he said.
“While the new ships will be a similar design to the current Spirit of Tasmania vessels, they will feature substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight.”
For the city of Rauma and the surrounding region, the design and construction of the vessels will create a total of around 3,500 person-years’ worth of employment. The vessels are being built while the shipyard also finalises a new car and passenger ferry for Tallink and builds new multipurpose corvettes for the Finnish Defence Forces’ Squadron 2020 project.