New Bass Strait vessels put on hold
MAINLAND FERRY CROSSING UNCERTAIN
pictured | One of the current "Spirit Of Tasmania" vessels
The future build of any new ferry to make the Bass Strait crossing is now uncertain.
Local ship builders Incat say they've received news from the Premier and TT Line that the proposed acquisition process for new vessels to serve Bass Strait has been put on hold.
Incat says "we understand that a taskforce will shortly be established to determine the capability of Australian shipbuilders to deliver vessels which suit TT Line’s operational requirements."
The Tasmanian Government's TT-Line took over the service in 1985 when the Abel Tasman replaced the Empress Of Australia increasing to six weekly overnight crossings between Devonport and Melbourne. The Spirit of Tasmania was placed in service in 1993.
Incat, has been an Australian shipbuilder for over 40 years, delivering vessels to ferry operators from all over the world and they say they are now " enthusiastically" looking to an opportunity to meet with that new taskforce.
Over 600 people are directly employed in Tasmania by Incat with "thousands more supported through sub-contract and supplier arrangements throughout the country".
Incat Chairman Robert Clifford, says his business is "supportive of keeping Australian dollars within Australia". Mr Clifford says Incat is not only looking at "maintaining employment opportunities for all Australians during these troubled times" but is looking at growing opportunities.
Incat plans to meet with the with the taskforce to "assist the Government and TT Line in achieving a successful outcome for all stakeholders" according to Mr Clifford.