National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, has joined with Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) to christen the M. V. North Star. The North Star is the second of two new Orca-class trailerships being built by NASSCO for TOTE's service from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska.
Lu Young, wife of Alaska Congressman Don Young (R- Alaska), and Marie Magee, wife of Robert P. Magee Jr., president and CEO of TOTE , were the ship's sponsors. Congressman Young, who is serving in his 16th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, was the keynote speaker at the event.
The M. V. North Star, and her sister ship, the M. V. Midnight Sun, are 840-foot-long, 118-foot-wide roll-on/roll-off cargo ships capable of carrying highway trailers as large as 53 feet in length. Cargo decks are 360,000 square feet and able to carry up to 600 cargo trailers and 220 autos as well as oversized freight. The ships employ the latest in marine technologies, including twin-screw, diesel-electric propulsion that can achieve a speed of more than 24 knots. The speed and efficiency of the onload/offload process are important competitive advantages for TOTE: the ships' cargo can be loaded and discharged in nine hours.
The M. V. Midnight Sun was delivered to TOTE in April and is now in service on the Tacoma to Anchorage route.
"We are pleased with the performance of the M. V. Midnight Sun and look forward to placing the M. V. North Star into service," said Bob Magee, President and CEO of TOTE. "Our multimillion-dollar investment in these ships will contribute immeasurably to the growth and vitality of the Alaskan economy."
"The two Orcas are the latest in a long line of commercial ships designed and built at NASSCO, which includes more than 50 trailerships, containerships, tankers, and other vessels," said Richard H. Vortmann, President of NASSCO. "We are proud to provide TOTE's customers the safest, most reliable and fastest ships in service to Alaska," Vortmann added.
The M. V. Midnight Sun and M. V. North Star have received several prestigious awards for their environmentally sensitive features. These awards include the States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force Legacy Award for 2000, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner's 2000 Pollution Prevention Award, and the U.S. Coast Guard's William M. Benkert Foundation 2002 Environmental Excellence Bronze