National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, (NASSCO) has delivered the M. V. Midnight Sun to Totem Ocean Trailer Express
, Inc. (TOTE). The Midnight Sun is the first commercial dry cargo vessel to be built in the United States in 10 years and the first of two new Orca-class trailerships being built by NASSCO for TOTE's service from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska.
The M. V. Midnight Sun and its sister ship, the M. V. North Star, are 840 x 118-ft. (256 x 35.9-m) RoRo cargo ships capable of carrying highway trailers as large as 53 ft. (16.1 m)
Cargo decks are 360,000 sq. ft. 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 ships' cargo can be loaded and discharged in nine hours, with the speed and efficiency of cargo handling being an important competitive advantage for TOTE.
The North Star will be christened on June 14, 2003, and delivered later this year. Both vessels 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 Award.
In addition to the North Star, NASSCO is currently building four double-hull tankers for BP Shipping Company of Alaska; and in October 2001, NASSCO was awarded a contract for the design and construction of a fleet of T-AKE dry cargo/ammunition ships for the Navy. Three ships of the 12-ship program are presently under contract.