CONSTRUCTION has officially commenced on Spirit of Tasmania V in Finland.

Finnish shipbuilder Rauma Marine Constructions began work on the vessel at a steel cutting ceremony on Tuesday (20 December).

Spirit of Tasmania V is the second of two Spirit of Tasmania vessels under construction at the RMC shipyard in Finland.

Work is already underway on Spirit of Tasmania IV. Both are on track for delivery in 2024.

The new vessels will have an overall length of 212 metres and a beam of 31-metres, while the vessels currently operating in the Bass Strait are 194-metres-long overall with a beam of 25 metres.

Spirit of Tasmania managing director and CEO Bernard Dwyer said the steel cutting ceremony was “much more than a traditional maritime celebration”.

“These vessels are the first the company will own that are purpose built for Bass Strait,” he said.

“As the new dimensions indicate, these ships are much bigger than the current vessels – featuring substantially larger capacity for passengers, passenger vehicles and freight – and will be a major contributor for the economy of Tasmania for 30 years to come.”

Mr Dwyer said Spirit of Tasmania is delighted to be working with RMC on the project.

“The European-based ship builder has an excellent reputation for building and delivering vessels of outstanding quality,” he said.

“We have been so impressed with the company from day one and are confident that it will deliver ships that will in turn allow us to deliver the very best outcomes for Tasmania.”

Spirit of Tasmania announced earlier this week it had awarded three contracts to local Tasmanian businesses to be involved in the fit-out of the new vessels.