Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions has started construction on the first out of two LNG-powered car and passenger ferries for Tasmanian shipping company TT-Line as part of a deal signed last year.
The Rauma shipyard held a steel cutting ceremony on Monday for Spirit of Tasmania IV that would operate between mainland Australia and Tasmania.
Both of the LNG-powered vessels are specifically designed to sail on a challenging route across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria, and Devonport, Tasmania, RMC said.
The RoPax ferries will accommodate 1,800 passengers each and will have an approximate gross tonnage of 48,000.
Moreover, the duo will replace the Spirit of Tasmania I and II, both built in Finland in 1998.
Rauma expects to deliver the first vessel to TT-Line (Spirit of Tasmania) in late 2023 and the second in late 2024.
TT-Line first ordered the LNG-powered duo back in 2018 at Germany’s Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft but it canceled the order in March 2020 due to the shipyard’s financial problems.
After the cancellation of the deal, TT-Line signed a memorandum of understanding with Rauma but later decided to withdraw from the deal citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind the decision.
Initiated by the Tasmanian government, negotiations resumed in March last year and led to the signing of the binding construction deal.