The new Emerald-class ferries have passed a key seaworthiness test for the cross-harbour run.
Although the new Emerald-class ferries began service last October (2021), questions remained over their ability to withstand the same 4.5m swell conditions as the previous Freshwater-class ferries.
Recent weather and rough conditions have allowed the final certification to be conducted on the three new Emerald-class ferries (MV Fairlight, MV Clontarf and MV Balmoral) to ensure they are able to meet the 4.5m swell specification for which they were designed.
NSW Minister for Transport David Elliott announced yesterday (Saturday, 12 March) at Manly the Emerald-class ferries can now operate up to their full classification and that the testing ensured the safety of customers and crews.
“While this clearance took a bit longer than we would have liked, we wanted to make sure it was done right to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
“These new ferries are a huge upgrade, they are fully accessible and able to provide a faster, more frequent service, which is a massive win for regular commuters and tourists alike,” said Minister Elliott.
NSW Environment Minister and Member for Manly James Griffin said he was delighted the Emerald-class ferries had passed their final seaworthiness test.
“As a Manly resident and commuter I have caught the ferry to and from Manly for the past 25 years. It deserves and needs reliability and frequency to ensure we get the best commuter service.
“We’ve had a difficult week with floods and we’ve had a difficult couple of years with COVID, missing tourists to support our local economy. So please jump on the ferry, there are plenty of options available. Come over and visit Manly, enjoy your time here,” said Minister Griffin.
Sydney Ferries operator Transdev Managing Director Loretta Lynch said the outcome was the result of many hours of structured trialling.
“It’s great news that these state-of-the-art ferries have been successfully trialled by our highly experienced crews, and are now operating in both day and night to the limit of the vessel survey. We are proud to be improving the Manly services with the new Generation 2 Emerald-class ferries,” said Ms Lynch.
The Emerald-class vessels were designed by Australian naval architects, Incat Crowther, and have been specifically engineered with reinforced hulls to enable operation in the larger swells experienced when crossing the Sydney Heads.
Two of the four Freshwater-class ferries (MV Freshwater and MV Collaroy) will continue to operate alongside the new Generation 2 Emerald-class ferries on weekends and public holidays.
Images: Transport for NSW, Michael Mannington