TT-Line, operators of Spirit of Tasmania, will order two brand-new purpose-built ships to replace the current Spirit of Tasmania fleet by 2021, chairman Mike Grainger and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman have announced.
Grainger said the company had carefully assessed vessel types and fleet configurations over the past several years to determine the most appropriate vessel to operate daily crossings of Bass Strait.
“We looked at capacity, customer expectations, operating speed, sea-keeping properties for Bass Strait, capital and operating costs and operational efficiency,” he said.
“Further, independent expert industry modelling for future demand for travel on the Spirits projected a continuation of strong passenger and freight growth.”
Grainger said Spirit of Tasmania was an essential link between Tasmania and Victoria, connecting visitors, families and industry.
“We have seen continued growth in passenger numbers over the past few years and the demand for vehicle and freight continues to be exceptionally high,” he said.
"These two new ships will have substantially-larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight.”
Built in 1998, the ships in the current fleet, Spirit of Tasmania I and Spirit of Tasmania II, underwent a major refurbishment in 2015 and will continue operating until the new vessels are delivered.
Grainger said the Company remained focused on delivering a safe, reliable and exceptional passenger and freight service across Bass Strait.
“We are committed to providing exceptional sailing experiences and with these two purpose-built ships we'll be able to offer increased comfort and enjoyment for even more passengers,” he said.
“We'll be bringing more people to Tasmania each day – contributing even more to Tasmania's thriving tourism industry and supporting local businesses with increased capacity."
TT-Line has ruled out switching Spirit of Tasmania routes to Melbourne-Burnie, vowing to stick with Melbourne-Devonport.