TT-Line preparing for delivery of new Spirit of Tasmania vessels past 2021

The delivery of two new Spirit of Tasmania vessels could extend beyond the 2021 deadline due to issues at the shipyard responsible for their construction.

Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest at a budget estimates hearing on Monday said through her reading of the 2019-20 budget papers, it seemed that the vessels were anticipated to be delivered later than previously thought.

Treasurer Peter Gutwein said TT-Line was working through the prospect of a later delivery though money to fund the new vessels would be made available regardless of the project time frame.

There had been $81 million taken from the vessel replacement fund by TT-Line to pay a deposit with the shipbuilder though it had not yet been paid, he said.

Mr Gutwein said there was still $40 million resting in the fund.

He said all TT-Line dividends over the budget’s forward estimates would be transferred to the replacement fund.

Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaf secured a $700 million build contract with the government in May 2018 to build the new vessels.

The shipbuilder was reported earlier this year to be experiencing financial difficulties.