Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Epic Tale Of Flinders Island Freight Ferry Saga Trudges On

It’s Make or Break Time in the Tasmanian Transport Tangle
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – Once again, like a fabled Norse tale from long ago, the classic story of unpaid bills, broken promises, threats and insults which emanates from the small community on Flinders Island is in the News. Well, tell the truth it never really disappeared. We have followed the dispute since the first day through desertion (the skipper skipped) and mutiny (the crew of the ferry went down the pub), shadowy figures with court appearances for allegations of previous ferry safety related offences, politicians hurling abuse across the Chamber.

And so it goes on. Like an omnibus edition of Neighbours the latest twist is to hear that, don’t worry guys, your stock and freight is in good hands after all. Infrastructure Minister Graeme Sturges has offered the company originally charged with fulfilling the ferry contract between Flinders and Bridport, Southern Shipping, one, absolutely, no doubt about it, do it again and you’re out, last chance to redeem itself.

The customers of the service, principally the local cattle farmers, aren’t convinced. It is essential to their livelihoods that a reliable weekly ferry service is in place. Watch this space, for the sake of all concerned let us hope that Flinders Island enjoys a trouble free 18 months until the contract is renewed.

Pic: Disgruntled Local Customer (we thought you’d be fed up with pictures of the ferry by now)

Previous stories in this never ending tale October 2nd  9th   13th  15th  & 18th