The Spirit of Tasmania is a roll-on/roll-off ferry that carries road vehicles as well as passengers between the island state of Tasmania and the rest of Australia. Two vessels operate the service across Bass Strait – MV Spirit of Tasmania I and MV Spirit of Tasmania II.
Melbourne is the mainland port of the ferry, with the ferry operating out of a terminal at Station Pier in Port Melbourne.
Loading of the Spirit of Tasmania for the overnight voyage starts in the afternoon, with dozens of semi-trailer loads of freight being loaded onboard the vessel.
The ferry arrives bow first into the berth, with vehicle access to the cargo decks via two sets of ramps – each at a different height.
Deck 5 on the upper level is loaded via a door in the forward deck.
Deck 3 on the lower level is loaded via a pair of doors in the bow, located just above the waterline.
Altogether there are five vehicle decks on the Spirit of Tasmania:
- Deck 1 and 2 are single ended, and are only accessible via a ramp at the front of deck 3.
- Deck 3 has the highest clearance and runs the length of the ship.
- Deck 4 doesn’t appear to exist.
- Deck 5 runs the length of the vessel, but has restricted clearances along the centre lanes.
- Deck 6 is a mezzanine level above deck 5.
Semi-trailers are the first to be loaded into the cargo hold.
Truck drivers drop off their trailers in the freight yard, with specialised ‘roro tractors’ being used to load them into the confined space of the cargo decks.
The passenger terminal is located next to the ferry, and is located over two levels.
Passengers bringing their cars along for the trip are required to pass a security inspection on arrival at Station Pier.
They are then sent to the far end of the pier to queue for boarding.
The stern of the Spirit of Tasmania has multiple loading ramps, which are used to unload the vessel at the Tasmanian end of the voyage.
As for passengers on foot,they much a much less salubrious entry to the ship – this austere looking doorway located just above the waterline near the stern.
Some footage from YouTube.
First off, arriving at Station Pier in Melbourne and being loaded into deck 2, followed by driving off at the Devonport end.
And the view from the upper deck – being loaded onto deck 5 at the Melbourne end of the voyage:
And finally – dry docked in Sydney.
- Checking in procedures at the Spirit of Tasmania website