18 October 2023

Game-changing cargo vessel launched to serve remote FNQ communities

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Left to right: Darren is a man with short brown hair and glasses wearing a blue button down and jeans. Steven is a man with no hair and grey beard wearing a blue and white striped button down and black pants. He is holding a straw hat in his hands. Bryce is a man with short brown hair wearing a white ensemble.

Left to right: Darren Lambourn (Sea Swift Chief Operations Officer), Steven Boulton (Sea Swift Chairman), Bryce Ikin (Master of the Newcastle Bay).

The Weipa community is set to benefit with the launch of Sea Swift’s brand new cargo ship, which promises to get goods and services to remote Far North Queensland communities faster than ever before.

The Northern Australian shipping company celebrated the arrival of the 99.98-metre-long Newcastle Bay in Cairns on Tuesday (17 October).

Master of the Newcastle Bay Bryce Ikin said it was an honour to celebrate the ship’s launch in front of key stakeholders.

“It’s a special time for the company, and for all of our customers and everyone that lives in the remote areas that we service in Far North Queensland,” he said.

With the capacity for 200 shipping containers and a maximum speed of 16 knots, the Newcastle Bay is poised to be a game-changer in providing crucial freight support for the transportation of essential and non-essential goods across the region.

“For us, it’s all about productivity,” Sea Swift Chief Operations Officer Darren Lambourn said.

“It’s faster, it’s more efficient, and we can get the containers on and off a lot easier.”

Large green ship

The Newcastle Bay measures just shy of 100 metres and will deliver goods and services faster than any other Sea Swift vessel.

The ship is set to take on its first voyage at the end of the month after operating and safety checks are finalised.

The purpose-built vessel will be deployed to meet schedules between Cairns and the Torres Strait, and will also play a vital role in ensuring food and essential deliveries reach the Outer Torres Strait Islands.

“Hopefully, once we get the programming and scheduling right, we can improve our service and our capacity to meet our schedules on time,” Sea Swift Chairman Steven Boulton said.

He said that the Newcastle Bay is an exciting addition to 28 other vessels operated by Sea Swift.

“We’re investing in the future, and the Newcastle Bay will significantly increase our cargo capacity, especially during Northern Queensland’s wet season,” he said.

He explained that the launch marks a significant milestone in Sea Swift’s commitment to serving the unique needs of Northern Australia.

“We’re looking forward to making a strong contribution to the broader community that this vessel will support with the services and products that we will provide,” he said.

“I think it will have an impact socially through that community, but also importantly I think it’ll have an impact on the economic development of Northern Queensland.”

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