TASPORTS has apologised to the King Island community following news the Bass Island Lines ship John Duigan (MO 9717606) will require three weeks of repairs in Sydney.

According to TasPorts, after dry docking in Sydney an investigation of the damaged stern tube seal, showed evidence of “significant bearing failures”. 

Pending a full assessment by engineers and part manufacturers, it is anticipated this will lead to a minimum three-week delay with resumption of service now forecasted for late July.

Specialised parts for the ship are being sourced globally.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said further interim freight solutions were being implemented.


“We are continuing to arrange alternate shipping arrangements during this period to support shipping services to the King Island community and maintain critical freight supply chains,” Mr Donald said.

It has been reported that the Furneaux Freight ship Matthew Flinders III has been made available to carry King Island cargo while John Duigan is indisposed.

“We will be using this time in dry dock to bring forward planned maintenance as part of standard vessel servicing processes to mitigate future service disruption,” Mr Donald said.

“This will now include targeted works on both the port and starboard propeller shaft bearings and seals.”

Mr Donald said dry dock space had been made available to the John Duigan for the extended time.

“Since the John Duigan was launched in May 2018, its performance has been of a very high standard,” Mr Donald said.

“Whilst the requirement for maintenance and repairs is in the nature of shipping, I would like to thank the King Island community for their understanding and thank my team for continuing to ensure we deliver a sustainable and reliable,” he said.

“We apologise to the community for the disruption and we are committed to ensuring all stakeholders are informed as we work towards confirming a return to service date for the John Duigan.”

John Duigan is an 80metre barge introduced to the King Island route following SeaRoad’s departure.