Monday, August 31, 2015

NASSCO Launches Gas-Powered Containership

By Mark Edward Nero

On Aug. 29, General Dynamics NASSCO launched the second in a series of natural gas powered containerships during christening and launch ceremony at the company’s San Diego shipyard.
The ship, the Perla del Caribe, was built for transportation and logistics company Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

The new Marlin Class ships, constructed by NASSCO shipbuilders and measuring the same length as two-and-a-half football fields, are being built to carry cargo exports between US-owned ports.

The ships are expected to reduce particulate matter by 98 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 72 percent, the equivalent of removing more than 15,700 cars from the road, making them among the cleanest cargo-carrying containerships in the world.

As part of the ceremony, the ship’s sponsor, Emma Engle, a third-generation shareholder of TOTE’s parent company, Saltchuk, christened the ship with a traditional champagne bottle break over the ship’s hull. Alcinda Buirds, a 32-year NASSCO employee, pulled the trigger to release the ship into the San Diego Bay.

As part of a two-ship contract signed in December 2012 with TOTE, the 764-foot long Marlin class containerships will be among the largest dry cargo ships of their kind in the world powered by LNG and are expected to dramatically decrease emissions while increasing fuel efficiency when compared to conventionally-powered ships.

Upon delivery of the first vessel in late-2015, the Jones Act-qualified ships will operate between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

NASSCO is the only major shipyard on the US West Coast conducting design, new construction and repair of commercial and US Navy ships.

In the past decade, NASSCO has delivered eleven commercial ships and has orders for ten more. During this same decade, NASSCO has delivered 17 ships to the US Navy.