What a welcome!
Bass Island Line (BIL) would like to thank everyone who came along for the community event and official naming ceremony for John Duigan at the Port of Grassy last Friday.
It was a terrific welcome from the King Island community for the new multi-million dollar BIL vessel that will be carrying freight to and from the island.
Even though it was a bit rainy at times customers and the community were still able to board the vessel for a look around.
The event received extensive media coverage on mainland Tasmania including on the three main television broadcasters, in The Advocate and The Examiner and on radio stations right across the State.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Judith Payne officially naming the vessel as the Lady Sponsor.
Judith, and family, came to King Island to a Soldier Settlement farm 58 years ago. She has since been very active in the community including as a Councillor and through the King Island Culture Centre.
Before pouring the champagne on the vessel, Judith spoke about the history behind the name John Duigan. She told those gathered in the port that he was the first lighthouse keeper and superintendent at the Cape Wickham Lighthouse.
“This new vessel will be carrying not only cargo but also our history,” Judith said.
TasPorts Board Chair Stephen Bradford thanked Judith for serving as Lady Sponsor at the ceremony and said she was “a highly respected and well-regarded member of the King Island community”.
It was also wonderful to see local school boy Matthew Button at the event accompanied by his family and the Mayor Duncan McFie, who is also his teacher.
In recognition of his success in winning the competition to name the vessel, Matthew received a framed photo of John Duigan from the TasPorts Board Chair Stephen Bradford and TasPorts CEO Paul Weedon.
Mr Weedon said John Duigan was “taking the BIL service to the next level with a direct route from Victoria which drives down customers’ supply chain costs and speeds up delivery times”.
“John Duigan is a step change in the BIL service, replacing a complex transhipment service with a direct, dependable weekly service with no increase in freight rates,” Mr Weedon said.
“For our fertiliser customers, in particular, the new service is a quantum leap in terms of efficiency because this crucially important product is sourced near Geelong.
“It’s also a win for fresh produce, which can be moved quickly onto the island.”
Steve Kennedy, Offshore Fleet Manager with Polaris, which operates the new vessel, said John Duigan was bigger and faster than her predecessor with improved manoeuvrability in all conditions.
“The crew welcomes the new facilities on the vessel including the latest navigation electronics all of which will allow John Duigan to offer a terrific service to the island,” Mr Kennedy said.
The new service will operate under a regular weekly schedule between Geelong in Victoria, Grassy on King Island and mainland Tasmania.