Freight delays expected after Spirit of Tasmania damage


The crash caused by strong winds impacts on parts of the internal loading ramp

Freight delays expected after Spirit of Tasmania damage
Authorities say loading ramp damage means ship will not sail under further notice.

 

Spirit of Tasmania II will be unable to sail indefinitely after gusty winds caused the ferry to break its moorings and bang into the car bridge at Station Pier in Melbourne.

Around 6:15 pm last night, winds up to 100km/h swung the ship perpendicular, bringing it 80 metres from the beach, before a tug dragged it away and secured it at the dock at around 8pm.

The crash damaged parts of the internal loading ramp and the passengers who were already on board were requested to stay put overnight as Australian Maritime Safety Authority inspectors checked the ship for damage.

The full extent of the damage is being assessed today.

Spirit of Tasmania acting chief executive Stuart McCall says that his firm had to make many rearrangements including cancelling sailing another ship due to go out of Devonport tonight.

"It broke nine mooring lines that were holding the vessel to the pier, and as the vessel came away from the pier it damaged the landing ramps both internal and external, and the damage to the vessel's internal ramps prevented it from sailing last night," McCall told 936 ABC Hobart.

Sixty-five vehicles were loaded before the incident, however, it is unclear at this stage how many of those were trucks.

The Port of Melbourne tells ATN that cargo operations at the port have not been affected by the incident.

At this stage, the authorities are more focused on assisting passengers to disembark safely and make alternate travel arrangements and delays affecting cargo and trucks have not been assessed yet.  

Passengers and vehicles were allowed to disembark the ship this morning after work began to fix the loading dock.

However, Tasmanian authorities say the ship will not sail under further notice.

"Spirit of Tasmania I will operate a double sailing schedule – starting tonight (14 January) – to cover the absence of Spirit of Tasmania II while the vessel is repaired," the state government says. 

TT Lines, which owns Spirit of Tasmania and leases the berth from Port of Melbourne, is currently investigating the incident.

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