THE new charter vessel, being operated by SeaRoad, arrived in Devonport on 3 April after making its first crossing of Bass Strait from Melbourne.

The German-built MV Liekut replaces the stalwart Searoad Tamar, which departed Devonport for the final time on 31 March after 30 years of strong service across Bass Strait.

The shipping company’s new addition, which joins Searoad Mersey II, has been eagerly anticipated and will significantly boost SeaRoad’s freight capacity.

“The MV Liekut is a major step forward in our commitment to provide ever-improving and consistent freight services for our clients,” said Chas Kelly, executive chairman of SeaRoad.

“The sheer size of this modern vessel is sure to make an impression on the port she will now call home, but more importantly, the increased capacity afforded by MV Liekut will create more opportunities for Tasmanian businesses.”

The ship’s arrival in Devonport was a non-commercial sailing, and the vessel departed Devonport on 5 April carrying its first commercial shipment.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald said, “TasPorts has worked alongside SeaRoad Shipping to undertake infrastructure upgrades in preparation for the arrival of MV Liekut”.

This has included initial works at Devonport’s No. 2 Berth East, involving the design and installation of key fendering. Over the coming months, the project team will undertake further fendering and bollard upgrades.

“In preparation for the vessel’s arrival, TasPorts has undertaken port-specific due diligence, including vigorous marine risk assessments, and vessel simulations incorporating validated models,” Mr Donald said.

“In addition, TasPorts reviewed the existing Aids to Navigation at the Port of Devonport and we also increased the number of weather sensors in the vicinity of the swing basin.

“These are all prudent risk management processes and are aligned with industry best practice within the port sector, both nationally and internationally.”

SeaRoad invested $15m in developing the East Devonport terminal to accommodate the 210-metre-long ship. In Melbourne, $600,000 of fendering relocation, pile restoration and mooring bollards works were also completed.

The ship’s flag was changed to Australian registration on 29 March while berthed in Melbourne and was cleared by authorities after arriving in Australia on 25 March.

Once MV Liekut’s charter period is complete, SeaRoad’s new permanent vessel is scheduled to begin trading on Bass Strait in the second half of 2023 at an estimated cost of $190m.

Chas Kelly, executive chairman, SeaRoad