Timber sourced for new Spirit of Tasmania vessels

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More than 6000 lineal metres of celery top pine sourced from below the waters of Lake Pieman on the state’s west coast will be used as feature wall cladding on two semi-enclosed deck spaces on the new Spirit of Tasmania vessels.

The timber is harvested by Hydrowood which will be working with two other local businesses – AJB Furniture and Joinery and Brock Building Systems – to produce the finished profiles to be shipped and installed by Scan Marine in Finland.

Hydrowood General Manager Darren Johnson said the commitment by the Tasmanian Government to include local products – and the early engagement with Hydrowood - led it to working with the project's architect and contractor undertaking the builds. “This is the first time Hydrowood has supplied timber for an international ship build and, hopefully, it demonstrates the capacity of our business to deliver premium Tasmanian timber to both domestic and international markets,” he said.

Hydrowood, one of the world’s first underwater forestry operations, discovered the largest quantity of environmentally-friendly specialty Tasmanian timber in many years. It involves the recovery of these submerged logs from the depths of water bodies, repurposing them into high-quality, usable timber.

Mr Johnson said Hydrowood had recently undertaken Tasmania's largest equity crowdfunding exercise to expand its footprint in the timber industry. “More than half of our investors were Tasmanian which is fantastic to have the local community as our brand ambassadors,” he said. “We want to make Hydrowood accessible to everyone. This is a piece of Tasmanian history and we are excited to share it with locals.”

The new Spirit of Tasmania vessels are being built by Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC), one of Europe’s largest shipbuilding companies, which specialises in the construction and maintenance of car and passenger ferries, icebreakers and defence vessels.

RMC formally started construction of Spirit of Tasmania IV last year when the first steel was cut at a traditional ceremony at the RMC facility in Finland. The second steel cutting ceremony was completed just prior to Christmas 2022. The Rauma-based company, founded in the summer of 2014, is fully under Finnish ownership.

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