SeaLink purchase MV Bowen to ensure immediate uplift in capacity for Bruny Island
The first of two new vessels for the community of Bruny Island will be built by Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) in Tasmania, SeaLink Travel Group (SeaLink) Managing Director Jeff Ellison said.
“Following an extensive search and tender process, RDM, which has been operating on the Hobart waterfront since 1989, has been awarded the contract to build the first of two ferries for the Bruny Island ferry service,” he said.
SeaLink has built seven vessels in Tasmania since 2013, including passenger ferries for Sydney Harbour and the Northern Territory.
All of these ferries have been built by RDM.
Mr Ellison said the company’s relationship with RDM had been very strong over the past five years, building high quality, reliable and efficient vessels.
“Today’s announcement means our investment in ship building in Tasmania will continue beyond 2021,” he said.
“The first of two modern and efficient vehicle and passenger ferries for Bruny Island is expected to be in operation in December 2019.
“The second new vessel designs are currently being developed by Incat Crowther, a very experienced naval architect. It is likely the second new vessel will have more capacity, but the final designs are limited by the infrastructure. We will take some more time before finalising the second build.
“Both vessels will have growth potential with ramp systems adding additional capacity.
“The second new vessel will also be built at RDM and be delivered by early 2021.”
Mr Ellison said SeaLink had purchased the MV Bowen which would be brought into service on the Bruny Island route immediately.
“We are expecting a big Show Week this week and we will deliver more services to Bruny Island than ever before.
“The third vessel will operate on the Bruny Island route during the morning and afternoon peak periods and commence regular service on the route immediately.”
RDM Director Toby Richardson said he was delighted to have been awarded the contract to build the vessels for the Bruny Island service.
“SeaLink has been an outstanding client for RDM. It is a market leader in the provision of innovative passenger and vehicle ferries across Australia and is always talking with us about fleet upgrades and new vessel replacement.
“SeaLink has proven it is financially stable and has a strong commitment to marine safety and we are always impressed with SeaLink’s commitment to customer amenities on board.”
Mr Richardson said he expected to add additional labour to RDM’s operations as it moved forward.
Mr Ellison said the first of the new vessels would be a 45-metre vehicle and passenger catamaran that would include a vehicle deck for up to 40 cars.
“An optional ramp system will add capacity for a further eight cars,” he said.
“There will also be a passenger lounge for 80 people, twin helms for convenience for crew and passengers and the latest technology in drive systems.”
SeaLink will undertake all vessel development and maintenance work in Tasmania.
Mr Ellison said Bruny Island residents would benefit from SeaLink’s commitment to increase service frequency, improved customer amenities, the provision of new ferries and ongoing employment opportunities.
As SeaLink moves forward, it has committed through its Ferry Reference Committee to launching a SeaLink residents/landowner program and a freight/service provider program that provides further discounted travel to Bruny Island business and residents.