Photo: Courtesy of RMC

RMC lays keel for Tasmania’s LNG-fuelled RoPax ferry

Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has held a keel-laying ceremony for Spirit of Tasmania IV, a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered car and passenger (RoPax) ferry being built for Tasmanian TT-Line Company.

The traditional keel-laying ceremony celebrates the official first step in the ship’s construction, marking in effect the birth of the ship. The keel of a ship is lowered into the construction dock, and customary lucky coins are placed under it.

Credit: RMC

Spirit of Tasmania’s massive L-222 keel weighs approximately 230 metric tons, according to the company.

This keel laying ceremony is another important milestone for the project that takes us one step closer to having new vessels crossing Bass Strait.  We’re excited to join our partners RMC for the occasion and celebrate the build for Spirit of Tasmania IV tracking on time for delivery in the first quarter of 2024,” Spirit of Tasmania CEO and Managing Director Bernard Dwyer commented.

RMC selected compatriot technology company Wärtsilä to supply engines and fuel gas supply systems for two ferries.

The new Spirit of Tasmania vessels will operate on an extremely challenging route across the Bass Strait between Geelong, Victoria, and Devonport, Tasmania. The ferries have been specially designed to undertake this specific route.

When finished, they will be the southernmost vessels to operate with LNG. In addition, the vessels will have a dual fuel solution, which will allow them to use other, alternative fuels. RMC will finish the first vessel in late 2023 and the second in late 2024.  

In 2021, RMC finalized an agreement for the construction of two car and passenger ferries after the deal was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. After the challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, production work has resumed to normal capacity.

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