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FSG Secures Tasmanian Freight Ferry Order

German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbaugesellschaft (FSG) and Tasmanian freight ferry operator Searoad have finalised a contract for an LNG-fuelled Ro-Ro ferry.  Work on the new ship is expected to commence later this year with delivery in the last quarter of 2023.

Searoad’s new ferry will be built to a new 210m long and 29.3m wide design.  Its gross registered tonnage will be in the region of 43,100, making her the biggest Ro-Ro yet delivered by the shipyard.  At 51,388 gt, Irish Ferries’ W.B. YEATS remains the largest vessel to have been successfully delivered by FSG to-date.

Once delivered, the new ship is expected to replace LIEKUT on Searoad’s service across the Bass Strait.  LIEKUT, which was also built by FSG, began a three-year charter with the Australian company earlier this year.  The company’s other ship, SEAROAD MERSEY II, was also constructed by FSG.  She is also fuelled by LNG and uses a roll on roll off fuelling system similar to that intended for Brittany Ferries cancelled HONFLEUR.  

A 3D rendering of Searoad's new FSG-built Ro-Ro. She will become the largest Ro-Ro completed at the yard when she is delivered during 2023. Image: Searoad.
A 3D rendering of Searoad’s new FSG-built Ro-Ro. She will become the largest Ro-Ro completed at the yard when she is delivered during 2023. Image: Searoad.

Capacity Increase

With a total lane metre capacity of 4,217 (3,792 freight lane metres plus capacity for over 100 trade vehicles), the new vessel has significantly more capacity than SEAROAD MERSEY II.  Two main engines will propel her to a speed of 22.5 knots.

Liekut vs Searoad Mersey II vsNew VesselBuild Snapshot

SpecificationsLIEKUTSEAROAD MERSEY IINEW VESSEL BUILD
Length overall209.79 m182 m210 m
Breadth, moulded26.00 m26.60 m29.30 m
Draught, scantling6.40 m6.30 m6.35 m
Deadweight11,100 t7980 t12,183 t
Gross Tonnage32,88725,49043,100
Freight decks434
Total lane metres4,0762,5184,227
Main engine power2 x 9,600kW2 x 7,200kW2 x 10,300kW
Service speed21.3kts20.5kts22.5kts
Source: Searoad
Side profile rendering of Searoad's SEAROAD MERSEY II. Image: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH
Side profile rendering of Searoad’s SEAROAD MERSEY II. Image: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH

Commenting on the order, Executive Chairman of SeaRoad, Chas Kelly, says the company is continuously evolving to be the premium freight provider across Bass Strait.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to enhance our logistics solutions for customers and with our investment in this new vessel, the team at SeaRoad is confident in the future of transport between Tasmania and the mainland,” Mr Kelly says. 

“At over 40,000 tonnes gross, this will be the largest freight vessel in SeaRoad’s history, continuing to grow our capacity, and providing more options for local agriculture, aquaculture and manufacturing industries.

“We’ve been very pleased with how our two current FSG-built vessels have performed from both an efficiency and operational perspective. We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with the German shipyard and their experienced staff.”

A 3D rendering of Searoad's new FSG-built Ro-Ro. She will become the largest Ro-Ro completed at the yard when she is delivered during 2023. Image: Searoad.
A 3D rendering of Searoad’s new FSG-built Ro-Ro. She will become the largest Ro-Ro completed at the yard when she is delivered during 2023. Image: Searoad.

Philipp Maracke, CEO of FSG, says the company was proud to have brought the business to Flensburg.

“This order by a long-standing customer equals an important vote of confidence in both this new model, as well as our established expertise as an innovative German newbuilding yard. Our aim is to combine superior quality and superior life-cycle value. With this new vessel, FSG and SeaRoad will make an important contribution to sustainable shipping.”

Due to continuing border restrictions, the signing of the €100m contract took place via synchronised video link.  

The Searoad ferry is the second confirmed vessel to be ordered from FSG since the shipyard following bankruptcy proceedings which resulted in the assets being brought under the umbrella of a new company with the same ownership.  

The other ship, yard number 782, had her keel laid during December 2020.  She was ordered by IVP Ship Invest, a company controlled by the same owner as the yard, for completion during April 2022.  Unlike the new Searoad vessel she is being built to FSG’s standard RoRo 4,100 design, of which a number of examples (including LIEKUT) are already in service.  IVP Ship Invest also has an unexercised option for a second ship.

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