An early concept image for the new Spirits of Tasmania. Image: RMC

THE COST of TT Line’s new Spirit ferries has risen and delivery of both vessels has been delayed, again.

Spirit of Tasmania IV and V, being built by Finland’s Rauma Marine Constructions, will now cost an extra $81.6 million (50 million euros) over the original $850 million agreed for the two Bass Strait ro-paxes.

And delivery of the first vessel to Tasmania will now not be before the third quarter of this year while the second has slipped to 1Q 2025. Both ships are expected to undergo around three months’ of local fit-out work before entering service.

The setbacks were revealed in the Tasmanian Parliament yesterday [15 May] by new Labor leader Dean Winter and were confirmed by premier Jeremey Rockliff.

TT Line originally signed for newbuilds with Germany’s FSG but was forced to start again when the builder suffered financial difficulties. A new contract for a new design was then agreed with RMC in 2021.

Mr Rockliff told Parliament the TT-Line board had earlier this year agreed to pay additional money for the new vessels and that the government was provided with the board’s final decision to approve the additional payment on 5 April.

“I want to make it clear, it was a decision for the board, not the ministers,” he said. “I’m further advised the alternative was to potentially go back to market for a new ship that would have cost more and resulted in a significant additional delay.”

Mr Winter later said the delay would devastate Tasmanian tourism operators ahead of a challenging winter season. “Respected, independent economist Saul Eslake has estimated that every year the new vessels are delayed there will be a cost to the Tasmanian economy of $350 million and 6000 jobs will not be created,” he said.

Labor also claimed that if the government hadn’t delayed signing on with RMC to investigate construction options in Australia during 2020, the new vessels would already be in Tasmania.

A TT-Line spokesman told local media said RMC had informed the state-owned company that it was experiencing severe difficulties in completing the two vessels due to several factors including material price increases, material availability and labour shortages.
“At the time, Treasury advised TT-Line that any decision to pay additional funds for the vessels was a commercial matter for the board under the existing contractual arrangements,” he said.

“As was announced last year, the initial delivery date of the vessels had been delayed by labour shortages caused by the after-effects of COVID at the shipyard and steel shortages created by the war in Ukraine that also impacted the workforce in Europe.”
The spokesman said there were important clauses in the contract regarding the performance of the vessels during sea trials that needed to be met before TT-Line would accept delivery of the vessels, The Advocate reported.

Tasmania’s new transport minister, former federal senator and minister Eric Abetz, later issued a media release saying Mr Winter’s predecessor Rebecca White and Labor were briefed on the Spirit of Tasmania project during caretaker mode pre-election and well aware of the circumstances.
Labor was “all at sea” on the matter, Mr Abetz said.

Fire at Rauma shipyard 27 February 2023

Ships facts | Spirit of Tasmania

A fire occurred at Rauma shipyard in a ship located in the construction dock on Monday 27 February 2023 at approximately 16.30 o’clock.

The fire ignited in the tank room as a result of hot work. Work was halted and the fire was quickly put out after the arrival of the Rescue Department. Their final unit left the scene at 18 o’clock.

The fire caused no casualties and any material losses were minor. Work resumed Tuesday morning 28 February and the fire had no impact on the ship’s delivery schedule.

The ship in question is the first of two sister vessels ordered by Spirit of Tasmania (TT-Line Company). The new vessels will operate on the world’s southernmost open sea route across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria, and Devonport, Tasmania. The first ship is planned to be delivered in the first quarter of 2024 and the second in late 2024.

End of Melbourne terminal, new era at Geelong

Spirit of Tasmania I docked at the new berth in Geelong
Mitchell Bruce photo

The Spirit of Tasmania I departed last night from Melbourne for the final time to much fanfare. TT-Line ferries started to dock at Station Pier in 1985 with the Abel Tasman. Subsequent ferries have been docking there until last night.

Back in 2019 the owners of Station Pier had told TT-Line that they would be putting the price up for the berth, a considerable amount more. TT-Line begin to investigate alternatives places to dock. 2020 they announced they had made a deal with Geelong and would move in during 2022.

Spirit of Tasmania I docked at the new terminal this morning 23/10/22 commercially for the first time.

Fire onboard Spirit II

Spirit of Tasmania II heading for Melbourne from Devonport
Photo:© Mitchell Bruce

On Thursday night, 29/7/22 a fire broke out on main (G3) garage deck of Spirit of Tasmania II around midnight in the engine of a truck.
The general alarm was sounded throughout the ship calling for passengers to go to gather at muster stations.
The fire was successfully extinguished and the ship increased speed around 1:30am on Friday morning.

23 years ago, when Spirit II was Superfast III she suffered a major fire on the main deck which took over 6 months to repair in Germany.

TT-line press release

Tasmania Talks Spirit Fire

Construction commences on SeaRoad’s newbuild vessel

German shipbuilding yard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has completed the first cut of steel for SeaRoad’s newbuild vessel.

A ceremony on 20 May officially commenced the construction of the new roll-on / roll-off (RoRo) freight vessel, a project valued at more than €100 million.

The event involved the ceremonial ‘pushing of the button’ to start the laser cutting machine with SeaRoad Technical Marine Manager, Tony Johnson, and FSG CEO Philipp Maracke doing the honours. Mr Johnson is currently on the ground in Germany overseeing the newbuild project.

Reaching milestones

Executive Chairman of SeaRoad, Chas Kelly, said the steel-cutting ceremony marked the official start of production at the shipyard.

“The ceremony marks an exciting chapter for SeaRoad, working together with FSG to deliver a vessel that will be of outstanding quality,” said Mr Kelly.

“SeaRoad is known for its attention to detail and dedicated customer service. Our new vessel will enable us to continue to deliver on SeaRoad’s commitment to service excellence for our partners”

FSG Chief Executive Officer, Philipp Maracke, said, “Seeing the first steel being cut is a great milestone for a vessel and we look forward to our good cooperation with SeaRoad and to seeing this project taking shape.”

The new freight vessel will join SeaRoad Mersey II and replace SeaRoad’s charter vessel MV Liekut to operate on Bass Strait between Melbourne and Devonport, scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The 210-metre-long vessel will feature the latest technology, including LNG power, as part of SeaRoad’s commitment to sustainable practices.

The ship will have a capacity of 4,227 lane metres and capability to transport heavy cargo with a unit weight of up to 100 tonnes.

Ilos, ex Nils Holgersson, Abel Tasman, Pollux, Theofilos beached

Ilos beached in Aliağa yesterday 16/5/22
Photo:Serkan Deniz

Yesterday the long suffering Theofilos was beached in Aliağa where she will be cut up for scrap.
She has been laid up for almost 10 years now after the finical collapse of her owner NEL Lines.
She was laid up at Spanopoulos ship yard for the last year or so. The tug Christos LXI, also of Spanopoulos group towed Ilos through the Aegean, where she had sailed many times over the past 20 years.

Ilos under tow
Ilos under tow
Theofilos beached

Theofilos, Former Abel Tasman on the way for scrap

Ilos under tow.
Photo: Panagia Ekatontapiliani Ship Friends

It has been reported a few times now that the former Bass Strait ferry Abel Tasman, Theofilos had been sold for scrap, but it never eventuated. It seemed she may even escape the torch of the breakers.
But late on Friday in Greece the line of the Tug Christos LXI was attached to the Theoflios, now named Ilos for one last voyge. She was towed from Spanopoulos ship yard where she had been situated for 14 months.
Over the past few weeks NEL Lines had been painted out on the sides of the ship. She is expected to arrive off Aliağa in the next day or so.

AIS of the Christos LXI towing Ilos

Construction begins on Spirit of Tasmania IV

Construction has begin on the first of the new TT-Line ferries, to be named Spirit of Tasmania IV with a steel cutting ceremony in Finland at Rauma Marine Constructions where representatives from TT-Line were in attendance. Some details have been released of the new vessels, including names: Spirit of Tasmania IV and Spirit of Tasmania V and livery

New Spirit of Tasmania IV & V will have a revised livery

Name: Spirit of Tasmania IV
Builder: Rauma Marine Constructions, Rauma Finland.
Year of build: 2023
Ship yard number: 6009
IMO Number: TBA
Call sign: TBA
Length: 212m.
Width: 31.00m.
Daft: TBA
GT / DWT. 48,000t / 6400t.
Main engines. Four Wärtsilä 9cyl
Power rating: 10,303 kW.
Gear ratio: 500/144 rpm.
Service speed: 26 knots
Passengers capacity: 301 cabins, 171 recliners.
1800 with deck passengers.
Cars: TBA
Trailer deck lane meters:TBA.
Total Lane meters: 3,700m

May be an image of outdoors

Video of the cutting:

Read the press relise at TT-Line:


22 Years since fire onboard.

A few days ago, on Monday 1/9 represented 22 years since the fire onboard Superfast III, now known as Spirit of Tasmania II

Superfast III arriving Patras after the fire, the damage clearly visible.
Photo:© lissos, Collection.

Tempo news 24 reported on this back on the 20th anniversary.

It has been 20 years since the day of the fire on a ship off Patras that claimed the lives of 14 immigrants who had been hiding in its hold.
The media wrote about the naval tragedy:Shortly before 9 pm on November 1, 1999 and while the passenger “Superfast III” with 307 passengers and 106 crew members was sailing 12 nautical miles from the port of Patras, a fire broke out in the ground floor garage . Passengers and crew boarded safely on other ships that had arrived for help, but from the beginning Coast Guard officials expressed concern about the possibility of illegal immigrants being found in trucks. Their fears were confirmed when the men of the Fire Brigade, after controlling the fire, located 14 Kurdish dead, who had gotten into trucks bound for Italy.The fire, according to estimates, appeared to have come from gas cans, which had been used by illegal immigrants in a truck. However, in the final conclusion, six months later, the experts pointed out that in addition to the gas leak and the short circuit in one of the refrigerated trucks, the most probable causes of the fire.
Odysseas Xerizotis: An experience that will not be forgotten …
The well-known father Odysseas Xerizotis in a post on the internet describes what he lived two decades ago. Specifically, it states:
Like today 20 years ago. An experience that is not forgotten that I lived with my colleagues while working at the shipping agency Superfast Ferries Th. Filopoulos – K. Parthenopoulos SA in Patra .
The “Superfast III” sailed, on November 1, 1999, at 8 pm, the ship from Patras to Angona, loaded with 73 cars and 107 trucks. There were 100 crew members and 308 passengers on board. The fire broke out. at 8.40, in the garage number 5 of the ship on the right while the ship was off the coast of Messolonghi. The passengers and crew boarded the lifeboats safely and were picked up by floating ships. The ship arrived, the next day, in Patras, with the assistance of tugs and during the unloading, the 14 dead migrants were discovered.
The readiness and response of the company (agency, crews, compensation…) to the needs of passengers and drivers was beyond their expectations.

Tempo news 24 image of Superfast III off Patras after the fire.

Superfast III was repired at Bloom + Voss ship yard in Hamburg, Germany. During the repairs 900 tons of steel, 70km of cable was replaced, also the internal tilting MacGregor ramp between decks 3 and 5 was replaced. A considerable amount of hydraulic systems had to be repaired, Some public spaces needed to be refurbished due to damage also . The cost was approximately USD $26 million. The work took 76 days.


Kongsberg Maritime (KM) is pleased to announce a contract with Finnish shipyard Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) to deliver propulsion and steering equipment for two new car and passenger ferries. The vessels will be operated by the Australian company TT-Line for the regular Spirit of Tasmania ferry service – a 10.5-hour journey across the Bass Strait between Melbourne, Victoria and Devonport, Tasmania.

07 Oct 2021

Each vessel will be fitted with two of KM’s Promas combined propulsion and steering systems, which integrate the rudder and controllable pitch propeller to provide highly efficient thrust and manoeuvrability. KONGSBERG prides itself on its hydrodynamic technology, and prior to the contract signing undertook advanced computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analyses of the Promas units to establish cavitation properties and ensure optimal performance at the vessels’ 26-knot cruising speed. Manoeuvrability when docking is further aided by four TTC tunnel thrusters, the latest design from KM.

“We’re delighted to sign this contract with Kongsberg Maritime,” said Jyrki Heinimaa, President & CEO, Rauma Marine Constructions. “The deciding factor was the long and successful relationship between RMC and KM. They have delivered propulsion equipment to many of our vessels in the past, and we know that they are a reliable partner who will provide excellent support, both now and during the vessels’ lifetime.”

With an approximate gross tonnage of 48,000 tons, each new ferry will accommodate 1,800 passengers. They will replace Spirit of Tasmania I and II, which have been reliably driven by KONGSBERG Kamewa propellers and tunnel thrusters since their construction in Finland in 1998.

“Choosing KM equipment for this project is a gratifying vote of confidence from both RMC and TT-Line,” said Göran Grunditz, Manager Hydrodynamics, Propulsion & Engines, Kongsberg Maritime. “Since we equipped the previous vessels more than 20 years ago, we have worked hard developing increasingly efficient and manoeuvrable propulsion solutions as part of our ongoing work at our Hydrodynamic Research Centre in Sweden. We are confident that the Promas system fitted to these vessels will not only deliver the same reliability, but also significantly improve performance, efficiency and manoeuvrability.”

The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered to TT-Line in late 2023, with the second following a year later.

New Spirit of Tasmania vessel