Construction works on the first ferry, Spirit of Tasmania IV, have started with the steel cutting ceremony at Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC).
The sister ships will be delivered in late 2023 and late 2024, respectively.
They will serve the Geelong-Devonport route between Australia and Tasmania, replacing other Finland-built ships from the 1990s.
Each GT 48k, 212 by 31 m ferry will offer room for 1,800 passengers and 3,700 lene metres of cargo capacity.
The newbuildings will feature dual-fuel (gas-run) engines from Wärtsilä.
RMC says the design and construction of the vessels will create a total of around 3,500 person-years worth of employment.
"Although the actual construction of the first ferry started today, RMC and Spirit of Tasmania already have a long history. The pandemic, among other things, disrupted our plans, but the agreement for the vessels was re-signed in 2021. We are particularly glad that our joint journey, which has lasted more than a decade, finally reached this important milestone. Therefore, I would like to thank Spirit of Tasmania for trusting our local expertise in shipbuilding," Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and President of RMC, commented.
Bernard Dwyer, CEO and Managing Director of Spirit of Tasmania, added, "This is a significant moment for Tasmania and for the Tasmanian economy. When completed, the vessel's arrival in late 2023 will mark the start of a new era for passenger travel and freight transport across Bass Strait."
Photo: Spirit of Tasmania/Rauma Marine Constructions