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Tasmanians 'In The Dark' about delivery of new Spirit of Tasmania Vessels


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Tasmanians 'in the dark' about delivery of new Spirit of Tasmania vessels

A quarterly progress update released by the state government on New Year's Day has failed to even mention the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels.

The $688 million contract for two new ships, due for delivery in March 2021, is the state's biggest ever infrastructure investment. In February, the German shipyard contracted to build the Spirits, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft, revealed it was experiencing financial difficulties, raising questions over the on-time delivery of the ships. Labor infrastructure spokesman Shane Broad said the lack of information on the build was concerning.

"We are completely in the dark and it's the state's biggest project. I don't think that's good enough," Dr Broad said. "They should be starting to cut steel now for delivery next year but we know that's not happening. "We know the delivery date is not going to be met and the question is why isn't the government being honest about it. What have they got to hide?" Obviously there is a problem, we just don't know the extent of it."

Dr Broad said questions to the government about the delivery of the Spirits asked by Labor have gone unanswered. "We haven't got any confirmation of delivery date," he said. "We haven't got any confirmation about how much it's going to cost to upgrade Station Pier in Melbourne and how much it's going to cost to make the upgrades in Devonport that we know need to happen. "We don't really know what the contract is [or its clauses]. "There are people who are thinking of making investments based on having increased freight capacity across the strait and having more tourists arrive, especially in the North-West, and everybody is completely in the dark."

The government failed to provide an update on the ships' progress on Wednesday. "The Tasmanian government has full confidence in the TT-Line company board and management delivering these exciting new ships for Tasmania," a government spokesperson said. "TT-Line is in regular discussions with the shipbuilder, and the company has appropriately strong contracts in place with FSG to build the new Spirits of Tasmania ships. "As TT-line has previously indicated, it has remained in contact with other shipbuilding companies shortlisted should FSG be unable to fulfil the contract."

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https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6563146/tasmanians-in-the-dark-about-delivery-of-new-spirits/?fbclid=IwAR36oLRcQpnuNGc9UFTdpQEfYw0wADy9tj0dJ7iUHDxhgcmCm-1SghEcJoc

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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17 hours ago, TonyMWeaver said:

As TT-line has previously indicated, it has remained in contact with other shipbuilding companies shortlisted should FSG be unable to fulfil the contract."

That line is interesting as it suggests they plan to take the project elsewhere should FSG fail to deliver the ferries. Looking at the photo, the bow design seems very similar to WBY and Honfleur so the question must be 'Would they be able to get another yard to replicate that look if it's it unique to FSG?' The hall welcome shows no sign of any activity or preparation for a new build either for IF or TT-Line. 

http://31.209.185.103/

Ed

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Perhaps Rob Clifford of Incat will muscle in and try and convince the Tasmanian government to buy its 150 metre long protype InCat. He's suggested this loads of times in the past and apparently it can cope with all the horrendous weather the Tasman Sea can conjure up. Not so sure myself.

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4 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Surely they need the ferries for their freight capacity as much as the passenger spaces and that's where the Incat would struggle. Ed. 

Yes for sure. Bet InCat are thinking on their options right now as they must be well miffed as a Tasmania company that none of their ferries sale to their home island.

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There's a lot of conjecture in the report, most of it is the same as what was reported back in June 2019, fuelled by the political machinations of their Labor infrastructure perhaps?

The timetable for the ships is the end of 2021, not March as they say, nor is there a price for the builds... as recently as November they were still at the design stage. The Tasmanian gvt have hedged the funding... which is in euros, in order to cover cost fluctuations.

The gvt are saying nothing as there's nothing to say beyond their original remarks of that they are still happy with FSG and the timetable but are searching for another yard(s) if needs must.

No money has yet changed hands for any design or service.

Both Superfasts are working well and there is no pressure to replace them.

Is anyone really serious about replacing conventional ships requiring 1500 pax & near on 2000 lane metres on a 600 nautical mile round trip across a notoriously rough sea?

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15 hours ago, jonno said:

There's a lot of conjecture in the report, most of it is the same as what was reported back in June 2019, fuelled by the political machinations of their Labor infrastructure perhaps?

The timetable for the ships is the end of 2021, not March as they say, nor is there a price for the builds... as recently as November they were still at the design stage. The Tasmanian gvt have hedged the funding... which is in euros, in order to cover cost fluctuations.

The gvt are saying nothing as there's nothing to say beyond their original remarks of that they are still happy with FSG and the timetable but are searching for another yard(s) if needs must.

No money has yet changed hands for any design or service.

Both Superfasts are working well and there is no pressure to replace them.

Is anyone really serious about replacing conventional ships requiring 1500 pax & near on 2000 lane metres on a 600 nautical mile round trip across a notoriously rough sea?

Rob Clifford of Incat was serious a few years back, in terms of replacing conventional tonnage with a fast craft. Apparently his 150 metre long off the shelf catamaran design would be big enough to cope with anything the weather threw at it. It would be different to the "vomit comet" experiment, as dubbed by locals, a few years back with the Deveil Cat.  Highly doubtful myself.

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4 hours ago, Nick Hyde said:

Rob Clifford of Incat was serious a few years back, in terms of replacing conventional tonnage with a fast craft. Apparently his 150 metre long off the shelf catamaran design would be big enough to cope with anything the weather threw at it. It would be different to the "vomit comet" experiment, as dubbed by locals, a few years back with the Deveil Cat.  Highly doubtful myself.

I know after a fair bit of fanfare they're now actively building 130m HSC's but I don't know of anything officially released suggesting they're pushing toward 150m. Their twin loading variant is 130m (good pics on their website under concept vessel archives)... without diverting the thread, I know where I think just one of these would make a difference!

The Bass Strait is more notorious than the Bay of Biscay and can be this way at any time of year, there's no end of Youtube footage of the Superfasts bouncing along. No Incat could deal with that and just like another thread closer to your heart, this link needs to be consistent & reliable for both passengers and the all important freight the island heavily rely's on.

...and to be honest I'm sure over the years Bob Clifford, TT Lines and their government have all sat around a table and discussed it at length.

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

I know after a fair bit of fanfare they're now actively building 130m HSC's but I don't know of anything officially released suggesting they're pushing toward 150m. Their twin loading variant is 130m (good pics on their website under concept vessel archives)... without diverting the thread, I know where I think just one of these would make a difference!

The Bass Strait is more notorious than the Bay of Biscay and can be this way at any time of year, there's no end of Youtube footage of the Superfasts bouncing along. No Incat could deal with that and just like another thread closer to your heart, this link needs to be consistent & reliable for both passengers and the all important freight the island heavily rely's on.

...and to be honest I'm sure over the years Bob Clifford, TT Lines and their government have all sat around a table and discussed it at length.

Jonno this had reference to the 150 m long super incat.

Screenshot_20200104-180216_Chrome.jpg

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1 hour ago, Nick Hyde said:

Jonno this had reference to the 150 m long super incat.

Screenshot_20200104-180216_Chrome.jpg

Yes it does doesn't it? Interesting too when you consider that this conversation took place around 2016.

With the current new length of 130m I'm sure sometime in the future 150m hull forms will be trialled but again, for me anyway, an Incat or Austal HSC isn't viable for the route.

TT Line want 2500 lane metres just for trailers and a further 1300 for pax traffic not to mention 1500 passengers, basically E-Flexer size. Even a 200m Incat would only have a max 850 lane metres for HGV's and around 1100 lm's for cars across two lower tiers.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, jonno said:

TT Line want 2500 lane metres just for trailers and a further 1300 for pax traffic not to mention 1500 passengers, basically E-Flexer size. Even a 200m Incat would only have a max 850 lane metres for HGV's and around 1100 lm's for cars across two lower tiers.

But how many rotations could an Incat do in the same period as a conventional ferry? Presumably two so that gets you closer to the target but not close enough.  Ed. 

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3 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

But how many rotations could an Incat do in the same period as a conventional ferry? Presumably two so that gets you closer to the target but not close enough.  Ed

Ed it's hypothetical, there is no 200m Incat, there's no 150m Incat either. The longest is 130m and that's not even built yet.

It's not a short sea route either, it's a freight heavy mid distance crossing, pushing 300 nautical miles, think Stena Horizon... would you want to do Rosslare to Cherbourg on a catamaran in the middle of winter, provided the wave height was low enough that is... Would you want to spend 5 hours on a catamaran in the first place?

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9 hours ago, jonno said:

Ed it's hypothetical, there is no 200m Incat, there's no 150m Incat either. The longest is 130m and that's not even built yet.

It's not a short sea route either, it's a freight heavy mid distance crossing, pushing 300 nautical miles, think Stena Horizon... would you want to do Rosslare to Cherbourg on a catamaran in the middle of winter, provided the wave height was low enough that is... Would you want to spend 5 hours on a catamaran in the first place?

I think as InCat is Tasmania's leading manufacturer they would pour huge resources and talent into any 150 metre long caranaran, in the spirit of national pride and prestige, if it was ever taken seriously by TT Line. It's also only a 5 hour crossing they are proposing so significantly shorter than a crossing such as Cherbourg to Rosslare which I imagine would be done in 10 hours by a fast craft. Still don't think it'll happen though.

It must really annoy InCat, that their craft which are marketed as resilient people and car movers worldwide don't even get a look in home territory.

Edited by Nick Hyde
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2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Gotcha! As is everything in any way related to FSG's output apparently. Their unique inability to produce ferries to order, on time or even at all seems to have global repercussions. Ed. 

The biggest point being missed here is that for all of the third party negative noise being made BF, TT Line & I.F. are seemingly still happy with the yard. For all of the rumour and conjecture this trio still haven't pulled the plug.

Due to recent launches there are now slots available at GSI in China and until recently AVIC had space too. If the outlook is that bad for FSG why has there been no motivation to pull out especially by TT Line who aren't expecting any new vessel for nearly two years?

The press release isn't news, it's just a rehash of one 6 months old which can't even get the proposed delivery date correct.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 05/01/2020 at 11:51, jonno said:

The biggest point being missed here is that for all of the third party negative noise being made BF, TT Line & I.F. are seemingly still happy with the yard. For all of the rumour and conjecture this trio still haven't pulled the plug.

Due to recent launches there are now slots available at GSI in China and until recently AVIC had space too. If the outlook is that bad for FSG why has there been no motivation to pull out especially by TT Line who aren't expecting any new vessel for nearly two years?

The press release isn't news, it's just a rehash of one 6 months old which can't even get the proposed delivery date correct.

 

There have been suggestions that the reason for the radio silence at FSG and Irish Ferries, etc,  is that things have gotten legal.  FSG777 should be delivered before the end of this year (having already been pushed back from the middle of the year) and they haven't even started steel cutting!  For a bit of context, HONFLEUR's hull has been in the water over a year now and she isn't finished!  As for those companies having not pulled the plug, what are the terms of the build contracts signed?  Without knowing at least (is there a financial penalty for instance) then surely it cant be taken for granted that these companies are happy as they haven't walked away.  It may not be as simple as walking away in any case (there's likely significant money already been handed over for HONFLEUR for example which could take years of legal wrangling to get back).  I imagine ICG in particular will want a replacement contract with another yard on hand for when any announcement is made so their share price doesn't take a dive.  Else they are going to have ULYSSES and EPSILON (or whatever else they can grab on the charter/used market) potentially up against two brand spanking new 3,600lm E-Flexers in 2021 on their most lucrative route.  There have been reports ICG have been making enquiries at other yards, but nothing concrete (as you'd expect). 

FSG's investor doesn't seem to be keen on putting his own money in and the yard seem to have been struggling to raise the finance to start further builds.  If the late penalties for 777 are anywhere near what they were for Yeats it could sink the yard.  A lot of key personnel have been lost from FSG as well.  The Tasmanian Government perhaps can't say anything because they don't KNOW anything (plus there are potential legal issues of course - I'm sure FSG have been briefed to not say anything that could trigger any action).  Despite the yard being behind they also sent more people home relatively recently - surely they need those people not involved in HONFLEUR to start on 777?  In an ideal world they'd probably skip 777 and move on to the Tasmanian builds, but this isn't an ideal world and they have a contract with ICG.  From the Tasmanian side there are a lot of politics at play and the government will not want to make it look like they made a bad decision - this appears to be a big issue in Tasmania.  I'm not surprised they are keeping quiet - the real issue is that people were told by the government that they were getting new ferries in 2021 and now it looks as thought they may not!

On 03/01/2020 at 19:14, jonno said:

There's a lot of conjecture in the report, most of it is the same as what was reported back in June 2019, fuelled by the political machinations of their Labor infrastructure perhaps?

The timetable for the ships is the end of 2021, not March as they say, nor is there a price for the builds... as recently as November they were still at the design stage. The Tasmanian gvt have hedged the funding... which is in euros, in order to cover cost fluctuations.

The gvt are saying nothing as there's nothing to say beyond their original remarks of that they are still happy with FSG and the timetable but are searching for another yard(s) if needs must.

No money has yet changed hands for any design or service.

Both Superfasts are working well and there is no pressure to replace them.

Is anyone really serious about replacing conventional ships requiring 1500 pax & near on 2000 lane metres on a 600 nautical mile round trip across a notoriously rough sea?

There is a price of around €438m quoted on the FSG press release for the contact signing and IIRC TT Line Pty also quoted a price.  AFAIK the delivery of the first vessel was expected in March 2021 with the second to be delivered before the end of the same year - someone from TT was quoted as saying something along those lines somewhere along the line.

Originally replacement of the current ships was planned to be 2023 but was brought forward with the FSG contract, so there is a bit of time to go elsewhere (although there is a lot of politics at play here and it would surely be a last resort).  Resale value of the current vessels was something figured into the replacement plan AFAIK.  Again I imagine they'd want another contract in hand if they cancel to minimise the fallout.  I'm sure E-Flexer could be modified to be suitable as suggested above if that was an option they were willing to explore.  Slot availability at Weihai may not be as big an issue as it would have been now the yard is part of the larger China Merchants Industry group, so 2023 might be doable.

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  • 6 months later...

Government halts ferry procurement from Finnish builder

https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6842423/looking-local-for-new-spirits/?cs=87&fbclid=IwAR2Nqn7veJ-opVChzcgjfu5QxtLqIfJPVLuLuav691m0gubVVgBi363MrwI

Interesting article about the Aussies considering building them at home, wouldn't have thought Incat would be right? Don't they only build cats? Austal the same? Given the sea states down there surely they need something more traditional. Wonder if this is a token gesture to stop and consider, before then resuming with Finland.

 

If they did cancel the Finnish deal...then there are more gaps opening up at European yards..

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Will Incat's all weather 150 metre long catamaran proposed by the company in 2012 or so for the Tasmania run now see the light of day? I hope not as a conventional alternative is better. They do say InCat maybe considered as one of the builders.

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From Incat's media team:

INCAT TO WORK WITH BASS STRAIT TASKFORCE

JULY 21, 2020

Incat, together with our fellow Tasmanians, have today received the news from the Premier and TT Line that the proposed acquisition process for new vessels to serve Bass Strait has been put on hold.

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.

Incat, as an Australian shipbuilder with over 40 years’ experience delivering vessels to ferry operators from all over the world, enthusiastically looks forward to an opportunity to meet with that taskforce.

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 are supportive of keeping Australian dollars within Australia and maintaining and indeed growing the employment opportunities for all Australians during these troubled times.

Incat looks forward to meeting with the taskforce, and assisting the Government and TT Line in achieving a successful outcome for all stakeholders.

Robert Clifford
Chairman

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Listening to an interview with the chairman posted on social media. Sounds like incat are sympathetic to a Condor like mix of fast craft for pax and conventional for freight 🤔

Edited by Tumnus2010
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1 hour ago, Tumnus2010 said:

Listening to an interview with the chairman posted on social media. Sounds like incat are sympathetic to a Condor like mix of fast craft for pax and conventional for freight 🤔

I imagine the people who run Spirit of Tasmania are fuming about the whole thing. They know what they want and need, which is a pair of large passenger ships as a like for like replacement for the existing two. There isn't a shipyard in Australia with experience of building them so either they're going to have to go with a concept they do not want or they're going to have to find a yard which doesn't have the relevant expertise and try and get something out of them. We've seen how FSG struggled to get to grips with the move away from the relatively basic freight ferries they were used to building to more complex vessels but the starting point domestically in Australia would be much further back.

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  • 7 months later...

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