TT-Line Company

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For the German company, see TT-Line.
TT-Line Company Pty Ltd.

Proprietary limited company

Government enterprise
Industry Transport
Founded 1 November 1993
Headquarters Devonport, Tasmania, Australia
Key people

Rene Hidding (Minister for Infrastructure)

Bernard Dwyer (CEO)

Michael Grainger (Chairman)
Products Ferries, passenger transportation, freight transportation, holidays, business travel
Revenue Green Arrow Up.svg A$187 million(2012/2013)
Green Arrow Up.svg A$12.7 million (2012/2013)
Number of employees
Slogan One of Australia’s great Journeys

TT-Line Company Pty. Ltd.[1] is a company operating ferries from Tasmania to the mainland of Australia since 1985. The company was separated from the department of Transport Tasmania in 1993, becoming a government business enterprise wholly owned by the Government of Tasmania.



TT-Line (Tasmania) was formed in 1985 following the announcement that the Australian National Line (ANL) would no longer operate a service across Bass Strait.

After the cessation of ANL operations to Tasmania, the Tasmanian state's Department of Transport began a replacement ferry service, selecting the West German ferry Nils Holgersson (3) for A$26 million. That amount was offset by a payment from the Australian federal government in compensation for placing the environmentally-sensitive Gordon River off-limits to Hydro Tasmania power generation schemes. The Nils Holgersson (3) was renamed Abel Tasman on 21 April 1985, and set sail for Australia, she arrived in Devonport on 20 June and began operating on 1 July 1985 from Melbourne's Station Pier.


In 1993 TT-line Tasmania replaced the aging Abel Tasman with another ex TT-Line (Germany) ferry. The new ship, Peter Pan (3), had replaced the former Nils Holgersson (3) (now Abel Tasman) on the Travemünde-Trelleborg route in Germany in 1986. The ship, which was delivered to Lloyd Werft shipyard in September 1993 and was renamed Spirit of Tasmania, cost the Government A$150 million . The ferry left Germany on 5 October and arrived in Devonport 12 November.

On 1 November 1993 the original Tasmanian Department of Transport was replaced with the TT-line Pty Ltd, a business wholly owned by the state government of Tasmania.

The Spirit of Tasmania made her first commercial crossing of Bass Strait on the night of 29 November 1993 and on that morning the Abel Tasman was laid-up and offered for sale, which was completed in April 1994, to the Ventouris group for A$24.7 million.

While the Spirit of Tasmania was dry-docked in 1997, the TT-line chartered a large multi-hull ferry, the Incat 045 (now Condor Rapide), from Incat, dubbing her Tascat. She was used for two weeks as an experiment. In the peak season of 97/98 TT-line chartered Incat 046 to operate as Devil Cat from the old SeaCat Tasmania terminal in George Town to Station Pier. TT-line repeated this over the 98/99 peak season with the new Incat 050 (also marketed under the name Devil Cat).

In September 1999, the Spirit of Tasmania was forced out of action for two weeks due to fuel contamination, and TT-line chartered the Incat 030 HSC Condor 10 which at the time was laid up in New Zealand as The Lynx. Once TT-Line arranged for the charter she immediately departed New Zealand and arrived in Tasmania 2 days later, and entered service to cover for the Spirit of Tasmania. Over the 99/00 summer season TT-line again charted a fast craft while the former Devil Cat Incat 046 was used on the Georgetown-Melbourne route during this peak period for three successive years.


TT-Line’s Spirit of Tasmania I enters her port of registry Devonport

In 2002 the Tasmanian Government and TT-line announced that they would be replacing the Devil Cat and the Spirit of Tasmania with two Finnish built monohull ferries Superfast III & Superfast IV later that year at a price of A$290 million from Greek ship owner Attica Enterprises. The Superfast III & IV were handed over at the Neorion shipyard on the island of Syros where they had been refitted. Superfast III was renamed Spirit of Tasmania II and departed on 6 July and Superfast IV renamed Spirit of Tasmania I and departed 7 July. They set off for Australia both arriving in Hobart 29 July where the final touches were put into place. After public inspections at Hobart, Melbourne and Devonport the two new ships set sail on 1 September Spirit I from Devonport and Spirit II from Melbourne.

Earlier that day Spirit of Tasmania arrived in Melbourne for the last time, having crossed the Bass Strait 2,849 times and carried a total of 2.3 million passengers, 807,000 cars and 185,000 containers. She contributed A$160 million annually each year into Tasmania’s economy. Spirit of Tasmania Departed Melbourne just before midnight on 5 September headed for Sydney where she arrived on 7 September. In late December in was announced that the ship had been sold to Nordsjøferger (Fjord Line) for A$61 million.

2003 – present[edit]

In March 2003 it was announced that TT-line would be operating a third ship Spirit of Tasmania III from Devonport – Sydney beginning early 2004. the new ship was also a Superfast ship as Spirits I & II this one was Superfast II a German built ferry completed in 1995 for Attica Enterprises's Subsidiary Superfast Ferries. Superfast II was handed over to TT-line 30 September and went to the Nerion yard for refitting after the works and renaming to Spirit of Tasmania III, she set off on the evening of 10 October. She arrived in Hobart on 30 October berthing No.6 Macquarie wharf for more fitting out to be done. Spirit of Tasmania III set out for a voyage from Hobart – Devonport with 500 people aboard. She stayed in Devonport for a day and then moved on Melbourne then to Sydney. Spirit of Tasmania III made her maiden run from Sydney-Devonport 13 January 2004.

Spirit of Tasmania III in the Mersey River Devonport

On 5 June the Tasmanian Government announced that the Sydney – Devonport service would cease on 28 August and the ship to be sold.

It was announced 11 July 2006 that Spirit of Tasmania III would be sold to Corsica Ferries for A$111 million (65 million Euros) she has now been re-named Mega Express Four

In the 2006/2007 financial year TT-line made a profit of $10.6 million with an underlying operational profit of $4.2 million. Although TT-Line’s revenue was down on last financial year the profit is up with the sale of the loss operating Spirit of Tasmania III. TT-line expected difficulty in 2007 with the continued appearance of more low cost air lines entering the market in Tasmania, but they are hopeful to continue the growth of the company. In doing so they have enclosed the aft garage space aboard the Spirit of Tasmania I & Spirit of Tasmania II. Also they have added mezzanine decks that allowed to be carried an additional 60 cars during the peak season. Also, the cinema is now used exclusively as a cinema rather than previously used as a passenger seating area.

On 29 February 2008 Mr Charles Griplas took over as CEO from the retiring Peter Simmons after 12 years with the company. Simmons was retained as a consultant to the company until 1 July 2008.[2]

The Vessel Replacement and Procurement Committee is due to report to the company's board of directors in December 2013 on the replacement or refurbishing of the Spirit of Tasmania I & II, which include options such as lengthening the vessels to increase capacity.


Spirit of Tasmania II in Port Melbourne, Victoria.
Spirit of Tasmania III entering Sydney harbour.

Current fleet[edit]

Ship Flag Built Route Gross tonnage Length Width Passengers Cars Knots Photos
Spirit of Tasmania I Australia 1998 Melbourne - Devonport 29,067 GT 194.3 m 25 m 1400 630 28.5
Spirit of Tasmania II Australia 1998 Melbourne - Devonport 29,067 GT 194.3 m 25 m 1400 630 28.5

Former ships[edit]

Ship Years in service Gross tonnage Current status Now
Abel Tasman 1985–1994 19,212 GT Since 1995 Theofilos of Nel lines (Greece)
Spirit of Tasmania 1993–2002 31,356 GT Since 2011 Princess Seaways of DFDS Seaways (Denmark)
Incat 046 Devil Cat 1997-1998 1999-2002 5,617 GT Since 2006 T&T Express of Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Incat 045 Tascat 1997 5,007 GT Since 2010 Condor Rapide of Condor Ferries (England)
Incat 050 Devil Cat 1998 - 1999 5,743 GT Since 2009 Manannan of Isle of Man Steam Packet Company
Incat 030 Condor 10 1999 3,241 GT Since 2011 Hanil Blue Narae of Hanil Express (Korea)
Spirit of Tasmania III 2003—2006 23,663 GT Since 2006 Mega Express Four of Corsica Ferries (Italy)





External links[edit]