The state Government of Tasmania in Australia has decided to cancel plans for the state ferry company TT-Line to order two new RoPax ferries of about 48,000gt at Finnish yard Rauma Marine Constructions. Instead, the state Government said it is setting up a task force to look into building the 1,800-passenger vessels in Australia. Tasmanian state prime minister Mr Peter Gutwein said that with global and local economies suffering from the coronavirus crisis it is vital the Tasmanian government continue to make decisions that present the greatest opportunity for Tasmanian and Australian industry.
In 2018, the Government approved a plan to build the two vessels at Germany’s Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG). But after FSG’s financial troubles, TT-Line signed a memorandum of understanding with Rauma Marine Constructions. Construction of the new fast RoPax ferries had been scheduled to commence in Rauma at the beginning of 2021.
“We have a choice right now to invest around A$850 million (US$600 million) offshore in Europe, or to explore all our options in this new post-COVID-19 environment to maximise benefits for Australian and Tasmanian businesses and the people they employ,” said Premier Gutwein.
Tasmanian yard, Incat, says it “enthusiastically looks forward to an opportunity to meet with the taskforce.” Incat was tipped to win the order. “With a highly skilled workforce of over 600 people directly employed in Tasmania, and many thousands more supported through sub-contract and supplier arrangements throughout the country, Incat is supportive of keeping Australian dollars within Australia and maintaining and indeed growing the employment opportunities for all Australians during these troubled times,” said Incat.