Posted on 06. Aug, 2010 in Victoria

A new $1.5 million catamaran linking French Island, Phillip Island and Stony Point is set to encourage tourism growth with the MV James Grant entering service today.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula today officially launched the vessel which can carry 110 passengers and deal with the choppy seas of Western Port Bay.

“The Brumby Labor Government is committed to linking rural, regional & metropolitan Victoria and the new high speed catamaran is great news for both residents and visitors,” Mr Pakula said.

“For most Victorians, public transport means trains, trams and buses, but for people living on French Island and Phillip Island, ferries are also a crucial part of their daily commute.

“The MV James Grant is a great addition to public transport in Western Port Bay, as it will be able to carry 110 passengers per trip, and is better able to cope with the choppy seas that some of the smaller ferries struggle with.”

For more than 15 years, the Government and Inter Island Ferries have worked together to maintain the Stony Point to French Island commuter route.

Member for Eastern Victoria Johan Scheffer said that in 2008 the Brumby Labor Government funded 18 new services of the Inter Island Ferries, which travel from Stony Point to Cowes on Philip Island and to Tankerton on French Island.

“Having an integrated public transport system in which services complement each other is an important part of our $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan,” he said.

“Western Port Bay is an important part of what makes Victoria special, and we want the area to be as accessible as possible to residents and visitors alike.”

The MV James Grant was named after the British Royal Navy officer and navigator who first mapped Western Port in the early 19th century.

This follows a tradition of naming the French Island ferries after explorers who mapped and navigated this area of Victoria. The previous vessels were called MV George Bass and the MV Matthew Flinders.

Detailed route and timetable information for the new ferry services is available at or 03 9585 5730. Train information is available at on 131 638 or by visiting

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