Spirit of Tasmania 1/2/3

Jan Hendrik
9th April 2005, 09:55
Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 sail between Melbourne and Devonport (Tasmania) daily.
Spirit of Tasmania 3 between Sydney and Devonport.
Vessels were purchased from Greek Owners and some other time I can post a bit about the history of this important link between the OZ mainland and Tassie.
Hereby a picture taken at Station Pier Melbourne.

cambria49
21st May 2005, 11:06
I have now sailed on all three vessels and while the onboard experience is good the operator could do worse than to spend some time in Europe observing crossings of similar length and style.

It is my opinion that Spirit of Tasmania has much to learn about port operations and efficient turnarounds and also attractive fare structures, particularly on the Sydney route.

The crossing to and from Sydney really is very special, but sadly Spirit of Tasmania III is let down by a crew who don't seem to take much pride in the appearance of outside decks and cleanliness in the atrium was appalling. By comparison Spirit I and II are spotless.

Rgds,

Justin

James_C
21st May 2005, 18:40
Are all three ships Aussie crewed?
We used to have Australian crewed ships, but that was given up a few years ago after their behaviour became untenable.
They refused to work aloft, or more than 2 metres above deck level, and the stewards refused to clean anything about shoulder height. Justification for this usually entailed a recital of Maritime Union of Australia rules.
Our British fleet chartered a brand new 130,000t tanker to BP Australia for 15 years. We got her back in 1998, and my god what a state she was in, we took her straight up to Singapore and put her into refit, something in the region of 5 million was spent on defects etc. She had 3 identical sisters in the British fleet and although they were showing their age, they were showing nothing else.
The way they kept that ship was a disgrace. Same with the Aussie crews (not the Officers, who I've always found to be very professional) on the North West Shelf gas ships.
Then again, even the Aussies themselves think the MUA is in a league of it's own when it comes to barminess.

John_F
21st May 2005, 20:35
Hi Jim,
Which ship was that Jim? Was she renamed?
Regards, John

James_C
21st May 2005, 21:37
Well she had a few names. It was agreed she would be handed over to BP Aussie before her launch, she was the last of the S class to be launched. British Skill and Success from H&W, Belfast in 1983, and British Spirit, Scott-Lithgows 1983.
Her original name was to be British Strength, but she was launched as BP Achiever in 1984, she then made her way to Australia where she was renamed Australian Achiever.
We got her back in, 1998, I think, and she was renamed 'British Strength'.
She was a strange ship in a number of ways, in that she had full size bridge wings (something the others didnt have), and she had a different internal layout with bigger and more cabins, apparently to comply with Australian rules and regs. She also had a lookout cabin on the monkey island, unlike the British ships, as apparently the crew wouldn't be allowed to act as lookout on the bridge.
Twas a strange set up.

cambria49
21st May 2005, 22:17
Are all three ships Aussie crewed?
We used to have Australian crewed ships, but that was given up a few years ago after their behaviour became untenable.

The way they kept that ship was a disgrace. Same with the Aussie crews (not the Officers, who I've always found to be very professional) on the North West Shelf gas ships.
Then again, even the Aussies themselves think the MUA is in a league of it's own when it comes to barminess.

Hi James, yes they are, and I would suspect the union certainly does have a hand in it. Loading has to be seen to be believed.

Rgds,

Justin

cboots
23rd May 2005, 15:05
Right, can we have an end to the union bashing guys, this is a ship lovers website as I understand it, not some right wing rant tank. I am a Melbourne resident and although I have not yet travelled on the new ferries, something I hope to rectify in the near future, I did a trip on the previous vessel and found all facilities etc excellent. I do not speak from a position of expertise but my understanding is that the manning arrangements are that the basic crew are seamen, duly certificated and unionised, but the mass of catering, cleaning etc staff are contracted. I cannot comment directly on James's supposed destruction of a fine vessel by unionised Aussies, notably only the ratings, the "officers", by which I presume he means the mates and engineers, were apparentlly excellent, (then why I would ask why couldn't they manage the crew?), but I do have direct experience where from a run of sister ships you just get one inexplicable *****. I also take great exception to the statement that all/most Australians regard the MUA as "barminess". In the dock despute of recent times the MUA had the support and respect of a large number of Australians, including many in the professional and middle classes, as it defended its members on the wharfs against a premeditated and carefully planned attack by an extremely agressive employer, supported and assisted at every turn by a government and minister that showed every symptom of being pathological liers. It is worth noting that the minister in question was later forced to resign from federal politics as a result of corruption allegations. I would assume that most of us who are members of this group are former seamen of one type or another; one thing we do not require is attacks on each other. I was at sea from the mid sixties to the end of the seventies, starting as a deck apprentice and end up as a first mate. In all that time I was in no doubt as to who the ratbags were, and they were not the crew mate!
CBoots

thunderd
23rd May 2005, 15:27
Oh boy

James_C
23rd May 2005, 15:57
At no time was anyone attacking anyone else on this site, merely stating what we had seen, what we know to be fact as well as personal opinions.
I'm not a Union basher, I am, after all, a member of a Union, its how certain unions behave that annoys me, specifically with the UK's very own RMT (parallels can be drawn with the MUA), who seem to think that the countrys shipping companys are only there to benefit their members and make them and their members money, nothing else, a lot fo the time the militant response from these people is completely uncalled for, with the result that they hold the Shipping lines to ransom, and in places which depend on ferries/cargo etc, like Island communities, these people suffer through no fault of their own.
As for my experience of Australian officers, I've sailed with a fair few, deckies and engineers, who were serving in the British fleet, and I thought they were all very professional. As for man management, theres only so much you can do, if the crew concerned are foreign seamen, and are not up to the job/incompetent then it's easy to send them home and have replacements, not so easy with British, or in this case, Aussie crew. Good direction 'from above' can only do so much, but when theres overt bolshieness, laziness, working to rule etc, what else can you do? Naturally there are always a lot more good seamen than there are bad, but its this small minority that cause the problems and ruin it for everyone else.
I didn't mean that all Australians think the MUA are nuts, only the Australian seamen I've sailed with. And after being told, seeing myself and reading about what they tend to get up to, I can quite agree. Naturally, people need representation at a union level, the need people to stand up for and represent them, but a lot it goes so far in that by demanding daft rules, the only harm the people they're trying to protect, in the long run. Perfect example being this rubbish about refusing to work aloft. If they can't do basic things like that, to carry out maintenance/painting etc, do they really wonder why companies flag out/take on foreign crews?
As for the majority of the public supporting anything, that tends to be down to who has the best PR. The majority of the population in the USA think the US Coast Guard are their white knights coming to save them from the evil that is johnny foreigner, but in my experience (running from Chesapeake Bay and Lake Charles, Louisiana) anyone who has experience of them, Ships Crew, Local Pilots, Local Tug men etc think VERY differently. Simply because they're informed and don't believe everything they see on CNN.
In todays cut throat world, everyone has to be the best they can be, companies all over the world pay a premium (as in much higher wages than those of India/China etc) to employ their own seamen/employees instead of foreigners, where it would be cheaper to do so. So in that respect said seamen etc have to be the best they can be, and more, and that does not mean having a virtual state of 'class war' between owners and employees. If they do, they'll soon find themselves redundant and waiting at the dole office, a situation so many people in other industries are finding themselves in now.

Jan Hendrik
24th May 2005, 11:12
This is not the right forum to have discussions of this kind of course and CBoots may refer to Peter Reith (I guess that is the one he means) as the bad boy here, but I know one thing and that is that Patricks Stevedores got their way with productivity outputs and increased the number of container lifts per hour.

Another subtle topic to think about:
When I arrived in OZ in 1979, the ANL (The pride of the country) had 48 ships, today not one left.
One could only wonder.......

trotterdotpom
27th May 2005, 04:13
Australian seafarers became organized after many years of extremely poor treatment by the shipping companies. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung too far and it can't be denied that the unions contributed to the demise of the Australian shipping industry. I arrived on the scene in 1980 and was amazed to find that I was flown around the country First Class - very pleasant but hardly necessary on a one hour flight to Sydney. There were numerous cases of strikes and delays for trivial or immaginary reasons - something had to change. I speak as a past and present union member.

However, powerful groups such as the National Farmers Federation, who think that a decent standard of living is only for their own members, lobbied for years for an end to cabotage and for the carriage of foreign crews on Australian ships. Successive governments caved in to these bodies and, rather than strike a happy medium, made a determined and successful effort break the unions (a la M. Thatcher), resulting in the decimated industry of today and third world shipping operating on the coast.

Apparently there are now Ukrainian crews working on Aussie ships - how can that be economical unless they are being paid peanuts?

Jan mentioned the collapse of the Australian National Line. In the late '80s, Government Asset Stripper Extraordinaire, Max Moore-Wilton (Max the Axe) was placed in charge of ANL and the rot commenced. Max, operating on behalf of both shades of government, has since overseen the demise of several other Australian icons and is now running Sydney Airport - Kingsford Smith would turn in his grave!

John T.

Jan Hendrik
27th May 2005, 06:18
When I arrived in OZ in 1979 and coming from a maritime background, the first vessel I visited was the "Goliath" built by Carrington Slipways Newcastle.
The deckhouse of this vessel was larger than her cargo holds and when I questioned the reason for such an extraordinary vessel, I was replied that this vessel handles 32 crew which was astonishing to say the least.
A European shipping line would get away with 14-15, a Japanese company (at the time) would put 11-12 crewmembers on board.
She was only a very small cement carrier.
The enormous size of the deckhouses made the ship look out of proportions
and whilst visiting some cabins I quite well could see the luxury of the various cabins and especially their size.
Unions had made sure that each crewmember had living quarters to a certain minimum size and personal showers/amenities, but you wonder how a shipping line can make profit having to pay double the wages (and don't forget the other "fine" conditions) of a similar type vessel of foreign origin.

I have also been involved with many drydockings around the world and it is quite common that crewmembers stay overnight on board while the vessel is in drydock.
To my surprise all or most Australian flag vessels had their crew staying in first class hotels who only needed to attend the vessel when on duty and indeed everybody flew first class as explained by John T.

robbo
27th May 2005, 12:34
Those that think the Unions have stuffed everything up down here in Oz should be happy
with the new IR laws from our present Govt.
Robbo

cboots
28th May 2005, 07:26
There is much that has been said that I would like to respond to both in support and to refute; however, as has already been pointed out this is not the forum for a protracted discussion on the joys of contemporary capitalism and globalisation. I would like to pose one question though: when every merchant ship in the world is fully crewed with the cheapest crowd that can be found, what happens then?
CBoots

cambria49
28th May 2005, 12:17
There is much that has been said that I would like to respond to both in support and to refute; however, as has already been pointed out this is not the forum for a protracted discussion on the joys of contemporary capitalism and globalisation. I would like to pose one question though: when every merchant ship in the world is fully crewed with the cheapest crowd that can be found, what happens then?
CBoots
Hi Cboots,

Is it fair to say this is not the group to discuss such things and then pose a question which begs discussion?
Rgds,
Justin

japottinger
28th May 2005, 12:36
Not to stir the pot, but Justin Merrigan's account of passage from Devonport to Sydney on Spirit of Tasmania III pub. in June Sea Breezes is worth a read. Not very complimentary on loading/unloading and state of vessel!

Doug Rogers
28th May 2005, 13:14
Listen guys and gals... its a very evocative subject..and very interesting..and very sad in its way...but perhaps the forum should be switched to the Mess Deck forum which is perhaps more fitted to this type of discussion if we need to discuss it further??.

Jan Hendrik
28th May 2005, 13:17
With regard to the condition of both Spirits 1 and 2 ex Melbourne, then I agree with Justin. Spotless, very clean and the trip is not bad either unless you are caught in one of those famous blizzards in the Tasman Sea.
Actually good value for money going accross with 4 persons and then taking your car on board for free.
Tassie is a popular tourist spot as well, especially when you escape for a break from the city and you want to relax in style sniffing fresh air in the wilderness.

cambria49
28th May 2005, 23:02
Not to stir the pot, but Justin Merrigan's account of passage from Devonport to Sydney on Spirit of Tasmania III pub. in June Sea Breezes is worth a read. Not very complimentary on loading/unloading and state of vessel!

Thanks James. Although since moving to Tasmania in 2000 I am now somewhat restricted in the number of ferries I can sail on (!) I still know how it should be done. In February I sailed on both the Ulysses and Stena Adventurer to and from Holyhead and in my opinion found the latter to be far superior. Both put all three Spirit's to shame in terms of service, cleanliness and loading efficiency.
Rgds, Justin

cboots
31st May 2005, 14:21
Hi Cboots,

Is it fair to say this is not the group to discuss such things and then pose a question which begs discussion?
Rgds,
Justin

The question is rhetorical and does not require an answer, just some personal pondering. Obviously I am not going to compete with some of the entrenched views and prejudices that are in evidence in this discussion so I reckon I'll just go back to the Brocklebanks section, gaze at ancient steamers and dream of the empire.
Regards,
CBoots

thunderd
1st June 2005, 04:57
With regard to the condition of both Spirits 1 and 2 ex Melbourne, then I agree with Justin. Spotless, very clean and the trip is not bad either unless you are caught in one of those famous blizzards in the Tasman Sea.
Actually good value for money going accross with 4 persons and then taking your car on board for free.
Tassie is a popular tourist spot as well, especially when you escape for a break from the city and you want to relax in style sniffing fresh air in the wilderness.

Hey Jan whilst sniffing the good Tassie air I hope you didn't forget to sniff some of the excellent Tassie wines. (Thumb)

EMMESSTEE
5th June 2005, 13:30
Jan -

When you arrived in OZ in 1979 ........ I can assure you that "Goliath" had a complement of 24. As for the size of the accommodation block ...... I remember in heavy weather and fully laden with a freeboard of just over a metre, we were regularly asked by passers-by if we had a hull beneath the accommodation!! She was a very wet ship in the often rough seas of Bass Strait trading Devonport to Melbourne and Sydney.

EMMESSTEE.

R58484956
5th June 2005, 15:56
Why has britain not got a MN today, because of a certain man at rhe near top of british government, he sank the MN so is he cleverer than Doenitz and all those u-boats, he succeeded where as they failed..

trotterdotpom
7th June 2005, 16:59
Jan -

When you arrived in OZ in 1979 ........ I can assure you that "Goliath" had a complement of 24. As for the size of the accommodation block ...... I remember in heavy weather and fully laden with a freeboard of just over a metre, we were regularly asked by passers-by if we had a hull beneath the accommodation!! She was a very wet ship in the often rough seas of Bass Strait trading Devonport to Melbourne and Sydney.

EMMESSTEE.

I remember frequently seeing that block of flats looming over the horizon and thinking: "Here comes "Goliath"." When I finally sailed on her, in about '89, along with 23 others, I recall the cement company had trouble differentiating between a ship and a truck. They weren't happy when we sailed from Sydney into an easterly gale and got half way to NZ before we could alter course to south - got on TV that night and had to return to Sydney to fix the damage. Great berth in Sydney, right beside the fish market - yum yum.

Trying to decode EMMESSTEE - first name Mike? Refugee from "Southern Surveyor" or similar?

Regards, John T.

EMMESSTEE
8th June 2005, 00:31
John T -

But not the Mike from "Southern Surveyor" (or more likely "Franklin" in 1989). I was in "Goliath" from new in March 1978 until the end of 1983 then managed to get a change!
Relieved in "Goliath" at various times until she went off the coast, though 1989 wasn't a year I was there!

EMMESSTEE.

cambria49
8th June 2005, 09:29
I MIST that one!

EMMESSTEE
8th June 2005, 13:37
RAT it!! Talk about being slow!

---------------

EMMESSTEE.

cambria49
8th June 2005, 14:12
It didn't take much to FINd it!

EMMESSTEE
9th June 2005, 01:26
That's only half the story!!

cambria49
9th June 2005, 02:05
One must always settle for a STABLE environment!!!

J

EMMESSTEE
9th June 2005, 02:57
OK - you win!!

M.

cambria49
9th June 2005, 06:55
Does that mean you've ROLLED over? (Applause)

EMMESSTEE
9th June 2005, 09:01
I give in!!!

M.

Jan Hendrik
17th January 2006, 10:06
Spirit of Tasmania 2, Melbourne to Devonport.

First photo: Sunset just out of Melbourne
Second photo: Me and my shadow, Devonport terminal.
Third photo: In Devonport.