TasPorts, the owner and operator of Bass Island Line (BIL), is committed to ensuring the continuity of freight service for the King Island community whilst its vessel John Duigan undergoes repairs in Sydney following damage sustained to a stern tube seal.

TasPorts CEO Anthony Donald confirmed arrangements are in place to meet all essential existing customer freight bookings, with the company working quickly to implement alternate arrangements to ensure minimal service disruption.

“We anticipate the vessel will be back in service in about two weeks’ time with repairs taking about four days to complete at dry-dock and allowing time for transit back Melbourne to resume normal service operations between Melbourne, King Island and Tasmania,” said Mr Donald.

“We’ve worked collaboratively with the Bass Strait Island Shippers network including our fellow shippers Furneaux Freight and Eastern Line, along with shipping agent Currie Cargoes.”

“As a result, currently the Furneaux Freight vessel Mathew Flinders is on route to Grassy and due to berth tomorrow morning with 12 containers of critical cargo,” said Mr Donald.

“We are now looking ahead to ensure future demands are met with appropriate arrangements, ensuing critical freight supply chains are maintained. This includes two further visits by a replacement vessel between King Island and Victoria in the coming week.”

“The nature of shipping is such that events of this nature do happen from time-to-time and I’m really proud of the way not only our team has responded, but the level of collaboration across the Bass Strait Island Shippers network to ensure continuity of services,” said Mr Donald.

Mr Donald noted that BIL is entering into a traditionally slower time of the year following a busy period with the fertiliser shipments.

“We are also taking the opportunity of this unplanned service disruption and access to the Sydney dry dock facility to bring forward planned maintenance scheduled for December – an out-of-water survey which is undertaken every 3 years. This is positive and will mean no service disruption later in the year,” Mr Donald said.