Local residents and visitors to Bruny Island may have already scored a trip on the brand new, Tasmanian built, SeaLink ferry, as the vessel went smoothly into service after successful sea trials in late March. Today, Parrabah was formally welcomed to the SeaLink Bruny Island fleet at an official naming and traditional smoking ceremony at Kettering.
Hosted by Tania Matthews, General Manager SeaLink Tasmania, Parrabah was welcomed by the South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation (SETAC), the SeaLink Travel Group board, and Group CEO Clint Feuerherdt. The community heard the Aboriginal story and the significant local meaning of the name, Parrabah.
Reverend John Middleton of the Anglican Parish of the Channel and Cygnet also provided a Christian Blessing of the vessel.
Built locally by Richardson Devine Marine, SeaLink Travel Group CEO Clint Feuerherdt said they were proud to manufacture the vessel in Tasmania and showcase the local heritage of SETAC.
During March, local St Aloysius Catholic College Year 7 Student, Carmela Harris was announced as the winner of the SETAC whale dreaming creation of Bruny Island story artwork competition, with the artwork proudly on display onboard Parrabah.
“We passionately believe in giving back to the communities we operate in, it is what makes SeaLink stand apart and makes us proudly Australian.”
“We have a history of genuinely collaborating with local communities to deliver services and operate vessels that provide safe, reliable and convenient transport.”
“Parrabah’s name and Carmela’s artwork highlight our commitment to showcasing the natural surrounds and championing the traditional communities we operate in, while taking residents and guests to these iconic destinations,” he said.
Mr Feurherdt said Parrabah is the second custom-built ferry for the Bruny Island service after its sister vessel Nairana went into service in February 2020.
“Parrabah and Nairana are part of SeaLink’s commitment to deliver two brand new locally-built vessels to the Bruny Island service,” Mr Feurherdt said.
Roger Janes of Richardson Devine Marine said the latest 45 metre aluminium vessel is “lightweight and extremely fuel efficient and has been proudly delivered on time despite COVID-19 having some impact on overseas supplied components.”
“Nairana and Parrabah are the first of their type in the Southern Hemisphere and are testament to SeaLink’s commitment to innovate and develop a low fuel burn solution for this important transport link. Their unique design also gives them impressive manoeuvrability allowing the skilled SeaLink masters to achieve highly efficient turn around times at the berth. “
“Throughout the construction of the two vessels, we maintained a workforce of approximately fifty people with a network of Tasmanian subcontractors and suppliers also contributing valuably to the projects.”
Mr Feueherdt said both vessels were designed to provide a more frequent and flexible service.
“Parrabah and Nairana will give travellers more flexibility through frequent and faster crossings. When working together on a schedule of one departing each 20 minutes, they will provide greater capacity than the current timetable.”
“We are very pleased today to officially welcome the second new ferry that will provide many benefits to the residents of Bruny Island and visitors to the region, including a more reliable and convenient service to passengers,” he said.