Tasmania’s clean, green image will get a very practical boost today with the launch of SeaRoad Shipping’s new RoRo freight vessel for Bass Strait service. Searoad Mersey II, powered by liquefied natural gas, will be officially christened by Robyn Kelly, wife of Chas Kelly, chairman of parent company SeaRoad Holdings, at the renowned Flensburger Shipyard, Germany, at about 7.30 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, today.
Searoad Mersey II represents an investment of more than $110 million in the future of Tasmania and its connectedness to the mainland and the world. It is the first coastal ship in Australia to use clean, green LNG fuel-and-power technology and the first pure dry cargo ship globally to use a roll-on roll-off LNG supply system. It will also be the first new vessel this century specifically designed and commissioned for the Bass Strait trade.
All of the ship’s principal engines are dual-fuel, burning LNG as the primary source of energy to give significantly reduced emissions, minimal risk of oil pollution, greater operational efficiencies and sustainable future environmental benefits. In regular service Searoad Mersey II will use diesel for less than 1% of ship operations. The innovative design anticipates strict marine air pollution regulations that already apply in parts of Europe and North America and which are likely to be enacted in Australia in the future. Importantly, Searoad Mersey II is significantly larger and faster than the namesake vessel it replaces, adding critical capacity for Tasmanian exporters (and importers) as the Bass Strait freight task continues to grow.
Chas Kelly, SeaRoad’s chairman, believes there couldn’t be a better ambassador for Tasmania’s clean, green image. “This is a Tasmanian-grown project that ticks the right boxes about environmental responsibility, clever thinking, world-leading technology and commercial sustainability,”
Mr Kelly said. “SeaRoad customers will be able to tell their own clients that the produce, goods and equipment they’re shipping from or to Tasmania will be transported by the most environmentally efficient method. Clean and green not only defines Tasmania, it ships from here too”.
“We couldn’t be more proud.”
Once afloat, Searoad Mersey II will undergo several more months of completion work and trials before voyaging to Australia in late October. It is expected to enter six-days-a-week overnight Bass Strait service between Devonport and Melbourne in December. Images of the launching are available via: http://www.searoadholdings.com.au/srwebsite/