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
Photo: arxipelagos.gr
Ilos under tow
Photo: arxipelagos.gr
Theofilos beached
Photo: arxipelagos.gr

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

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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. nautilia.gr

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

New ship for Searoad

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The new vessel, SeaRoad Tasmania

SeaRoad of Tasmania today (209/21) has announced they have signed a contract with German ship yard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) for a €100 million Euro for Ro/Ro vessel with dilivery in 2023. The new Ro/Ro vessel will join Searoad Mersey II and replace charter vessel MV Liekut to operate on Bass Strait between Melbourne and Devonport, scheduled for the last quarter of 2023. Construction on the 210-metre-long vessel will commence in late 2021 and the ship will feature the latest technology, including LNG power. The vessel will have a capacity of 4,227 lane metres and capability to transport heavy cargo with a unit weight of up to 100 tonnes. Mr Chas Kelly, CEO of Sea Road said “At over 40,000 tonnes gross, this will be the largest freight vessel in SeaRoad’s history, continuing to grow our capacity, and providing more options for local agriculture, aquaculture and manufacturing industries.“We’ve been very pleased with how our two current FSG-built vessels have performed from both an efficiency and operational perspective. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the German shipyard and their experienced staff.” Philipp Maracke, CEO of FSG, says the company was proud to have brought the business to Flensburg.“This order by a long-standing customer equals an important vote of confidence in both this new model, as well as our established expertise as an innovative German newbuilding yard. Our aim is to combine superior quality and superior life-cycle value. With this new vessel, FSG and SeaRoad will make an important contribution to sustainable shipping.”

TT-Line had signed a contract with FSG to build the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels, but due to financial difficulties FSG could not deliver the ships on time, so the order was mutually cancelled, and since awarded to finish RMC.
FSG has since undergone some restructuring in the ownership and after a period of not building any ships, they have started again on a Ro/Ro for another subsidiary of their own parent company, IVP Ship Invest. So this order is the first since the cancelled TT-Line builds and also Brittany ferries half finished ship getting cancelled. So things are looking up for FSG.

May be an image of text that says "Specifications LIEKUT SEAROAD MERSEY 209.79 m 182 m 26.00 m VESSEL NEW BUILD 210m Length overall Breadth, moulded Draught, scantling Deadweight Gross Tonnage Freight decks 6.40 m 26.60 m 11,100 6.30 m 29.30 m 7980 t 6.35 m 32,887 Total lane metres 25,490 12,183t 3 4,076 Main engine power 43,100 43, Service speed 2,518 2×9,600kW 4 4,227 21.3kts 2×7,200kW 20.5kts 2x10,300kW 22.5kts"
Specs on the new ship

For more info: https://www.searoad.net/

Plight of the Searoad Tamar

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SEAROAD TAMAR Departing Devonport
Mitchell Bruce photo

Early this year it was revealed by reputable industry publications that the Searoad Tamar was sold to Greek buyers for further service. It was later revealed the buyer was Ainaftis shipping, based in Piraeus Greece.

The ship had departed Devonport for the final time on 31 March, bound for what many believed would be a long life in Greece, serving the domestic lines throughout the network of Ainaftis. next morning, 1 April she discharged in Melbourne and then moved to anchor before returning briefly to Webb Dock 3 April for auxiliary engine repairs, then to Victoria Dock 5 April for handover to Ainaftis Shipping of Piraeus 8 April. Officially the owning company was listed as STAR SAILOR SA with management by, UNITED SAILS SA. She was transferred to the Panama flag the following day and departed Melbourne 2345hrs on 13 April showing destination Port Said, Egypt.

The following is from a seafarer who was onboard the Tamar to Bangladesh and spoke with Chris Tiedemann from Devonport, Tasmania, who in turn has kindly provided me with the info and permission to post it.

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Searoad Tamar
Chris Tiedemann

After the pilot left the ship at the Rip, the seafarer said the threats from the “So called Captain” started… shortly after leaving Melbourne the crew were ordered to pack all the lashing and other gear into crates to be sent to Greece, or they wouldn’t be payed.
They couldn’t figure that out as they thought that they were going to Greece with the vessel anyway. Later in the voyage the owners asked the ship to turn off the AIS. The seafarer was not prepared to lose his ticket for doing things like that so it was kept on. The seafarer continued on to tell Chris that his guess was that the Greeks wanted it for scrap in the first place, as the dodgy happenings after Melbourne. They were asking the ship to go to Singapore for fresh water which makes no sense as it’s going way out of there way to Suez-then Greece. This never happened. Next they wanted to do ship to ship fuel transfer from her to a small tanker, LANKA FREEDOM (9058610, 414/92, Sri Lanka flag) offshore Galle, Sri Lanka 29 Apri at sea of 100mt of fuel. An engineer did not agree with this at all for obvious reasons, but seems it did take place.

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Screen shot of the transfer
Chris Tiedemann

Naka Reo _ Shipspotting.com

The seafarer says the food was close to gone on arrival to Bangladesh. Rice and little amount of chicken was standard. They also had very little water. The crew contacted ITF London regarding it all, but he said he was basically told that ITF had very little to no power in Bangladesh, and had to accept that the Greek owners just did what they want.

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The cupboard was bare

They proceeded to Bangladesh with no paper charts or ECDIS, They only had a general chart sent by email to the Captain from the owner. To this day the crew have not been payed at all. They had to pay for their Quarantine time when they arrived in Australia.$2,800 they were later billed for this.

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Quarantine was in Brisbane, and the seafarers kindly got the bill to pay it.

on 5 May Searoad Tamar arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh anchorage.
The Romanian delivery crew was on four-month contracts with airfares back to Romania upon safe arrival Greece. Upon arrival Chittagong, they were told to pack up all removable equipment/goods on board and prepare for disembarkation. Names of anyone refusing to co-operate were to be taken by the Master and reported. The crew then in effect mutinied as allegedly they had not been paid nor provided tickets ex Chittagong back to Romania.
Nothing wrong with the ship: purely a money play, scrap steel prices in Bangladesh and elsewhere have been rising steadily all this year and it’s likely the owners would reap c.US$4.2 million due to the very sturdy construction of vessel. They only paid c.US$900,000 (about A$1.3M) for it, plus cost of delivery voyage, so a very lucrative set of transactions …

Searoad Tamar beached at Chittagong ready for scrapping.
Photo: Mr Ridoy
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Searoad Tamar, all but gone. 🙁

Thanks to Chris Tiedemann for sharing this info with us. This kind of behavior from ship owners taking advantage over sea seafarers can only be condemned. Feel free to share to share this to bring awareness of the poor treatment Ainaftis has sown these sea seafarers, who have still not been paid to this day.

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