National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) has joined with Totem Ocean Trailer Express
, Inc. (TOTE) to christen the M. V. Midnight Sun, the first commercial dry cargo vessel to be built in the United States in 10 years. The Midnight Sun is the first of two new Orca-class trailerships being built by NASSCO for TOTE's service from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska.
Lynn Garvey, wife of Mike Garvey, Chairman of the Board of TOTE's parent company, Saltchuk Resources, Inc., and Lily Stevens, the daughter of Senator Ted Stevens (R- Alaska), were the ship's sponsors, christening the M. V. Midnight Sun with ceremonial bottles of champagne. Senator Stevens, who is serving in his seventh term in the U.S. Senate, was the keynote speaker at the event.
The M. V. Midnight Sun, and her sister ship, the M. V. North Star, are 840-ft.-long, 118-ft.-wide RoRo cargo ships offering the option to carry trailers as large as 53 ft. in length. The ships' cargo can be loaded and discharged in nine hours, with the speed and efficiency of this process being an important competitive advantage for TOTE.
"M. V. Midnight Sun reflects our ongoing commitment to the vitality of the Alaskan economy," said Bob Magee, President and CEO of TOTE. "Our multi- million-dollar investment in both ships speaks volumes about TOTE's belief in the future growth of Alaska."
"For several years, NASSCO has been making investments in process improvement and capital equipment to improve its productivity and competitive position in the commercial shipbuilding marketplace," said Richard H. Vortmann, president of NASSCO. "We are pleased that Saltchuk and TOTE have made NASSCO their shipyard of choice to build these two Orca-class trailerships for the rigors of Alaskan service. The Orcas are designed to provide TOTE's customers the safest, most reliable, and fastest service to Alaska."
M. V. Midnight Sun and M. V. North Star have already received several prestigious awards for their environmentally sensitive design. These 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 Biennial William M. Benkert Foundation 2002 Environmental Excellence Bronze
The Midnight Sun will be delivered in early 2003. The North Star will be christened on March 15, 2003, and will be delivered in summer 2003.