Searoad launches new vessel for Bass Strait shipping

Australian logistics supplier Searoad Shipping’s new Ro-Ro freight vessel for Bass Strait service has been launched in Germany.

‘Searoad Mersey II’ will be powered by liquefied natural gas and represents an investment of more than AU$110 million (US$81 million) connecting Tasmania to the Australian mainland.

It is one of the first coastal ships in Australia to use LNG fuel-and-power technology and the first pure dry cargo ship globally to use an LNG supply system, according to Searoad. The company also said it will be the first new vessel this century specifically designed and commissioned for the Bass Strait trade.

All of the ship’s principal engines are dual-fuel, burning LNG as the primary source of energy. In regular service, the ‘Mersey II’ is expected to use diesel for less than one per cent of ship operations.

Once afloat, ‘Searoad Mersey II’ will undergo several more months of completion work and trials before voyaging to Australia in late October. It is expected to enter six-days-a-week overnight Bass Strait service between Devonport and Melbourne in December.