LOCALS and dignitaries flocked to the Port of Grassy last week for the official naming ceremony of the ship John Duigan (9717606).
While there was some rain, customers and the community were nonetheless still able to board the vessel for a look around.
Prominent local Judith Payne officially named the vessel in her capacity as ‘lady sponsor’.
Judith Payne and her family came to King Island to a soldier settlement farm 58 years ago and she has since been an active community member.
Before pouring the champagne on the vessel, Ms Payne spoke about the history behind the name John Duigan, telling those gathered he was the first lighthouse keeper and superintendent at the Cape Wickham Lighthouse.
“This new vessel will be carrying not only cargo but also our history,” Ms Payne said.
TasPorts Board chair Stephen Bradford thanked Ms Payne for serving as lady sponsor and said she was “a highly respected and well-regarded member of the King Island community”.
Local school boy Matthew Button attended the event having won a competition to name the vessel.
He received a framed photo of John Duigan for his trouble, presented by Mr Bradford and TasPorts chief executive Paul Weedon.
Mr Weedon said John Duigan was “taking the BIL service to the next level with a direct route from Victoria which drives down customers’ supply chain costs and speeds up delivery times”.
“John Duigan is a step change in the BIL service, replacing a complex transhipment service with a direct, dependable weekly service with no increase in freight rates,” Mr Weedon said.
“For our fertiliser customers, in particular, the new service is a quantum leap in terms of efficiency because this crucially important product is sourced near Geelong.
A BreastScreen Tasmania and Mobile Screening Unit being brought over to the island to provide a screening service for women on the island from 18 May 2018 to 31 May 2018. Photo: TasPorts
“It’s also a win for fresh produce, which can be moved quickly onto the island.”
Polaris is to operate the new vessel and offshore fleet manager Steve Kennedy said John Duigan was bigger and faster than her predecessor with improved manoeuvrability.
“The crew welcomes the new facilities on the vessel including the latest navigation electronics all of which will allow John Duigan to offer a terrific service to the island,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The new service will operate under a regular weekly schedule between Geelong in Victoria, Grassy on King Island and mainland Tasmania.”