A TRIANGULAR service linking King Island with Victoria as well as the Tasmanian main island is to be a feature of a new shipping service.
The Tasmanian government has this week announced a ship to replace the barge Investigator II that battled to keep pace with the needs of Islanders.
But the government has also conceded the new ship won’t be the long term answer.
Figures supplied by the Tasmanian government show the new ship (which is still to get a name) has a dead weight tonnage of 2200, compared with Investigator II which has an 870dwt.
The new ship is owned by Vitawani Shipbuilding in Malaysia.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff was the man to make the announcement, infrastructure minister Rene Hidding (whose handling of Bass Strait shipping issues attracted criticism) being on leave.
Mr Rockliff said the new ship would be on the water this summer.
“The new vessel will be double the capacity of the current vessel, meaning it can more than meet the current freight and livestock demands of the Island, in addition to having capacity for future growth,” he said.
Mr Rockliff said the government had “listened to the King Island community and understands their freight concerns and this is a great outcome that I’m sure will be warmly welcomed by everyone in the community”.
“Importantly, the new ship will run on a triangular service between Grassy on King Island, Victoria, and the North West of Tasmania. This means there will be no more trans-shipping arrangements where freight originating from or destined for Victoria need to be transferred between vessels in Devonport, which is another great outcome for the community,” he said.
The service will still be operated through Bass Island Lines, a subsidiary of the government-owned Tasports.
Mr Rockiff said the Government would continue to consult with the community on “the ideal long-term solution” for the Island, including the possibility of a new, custom-built ship.
“I’ll be on the Island myself in the next few days and I look forward to catching up with King Island stakeholders and members of the community,” he said.