General Dynamics NASSCO launched the 3,100 teu Isla Bella, the world’s first LNG-powered containership. More than 3,400 shipbuilders, their families, and others attended the special event at the San Diego-based shipyard.
After christening by Sophie Sacco — wife of Michael Sacco
, president of the Seafarers International Union — the 754-foot-long Isla Bella slid into San Diego Bay
on the high tide at 9:10 p.m. Fireworks erupted as the ship floated.
The containership, part of a two-ship contract, was built for TOTE at what is the last major yard still in existence on the US west coast. The Isla Bella was also NASSCO’s 100th launch.
The 233 m long ships, equipped with MAN engines, are scheduled to operate between Jacksonville, (Jaxport) Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico, NASSCO said
. The pair will be able to move at up to 22 knots.
“Those of you in the cheap seats — this is your ship. Give yourselves a hand,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter to cheers from the thousands of workers surrounding the giant vessel at the shipyard in Barrio Logan.
NASSCO said in a statement that the Marlin-class containerships "will be the largest dry cargo ships of any kind in the world powered by LNG. The vessels ... will significantly decrease emissions while increasing fuel efficiency as compared to conventionally-powered ships. The LNG-powered ships will also include a ballast water treatment system, making them the greenest ships of their size anywhere in the world."
The ship was designed by DSEC, a South Korean-based company that has partnered with NASSCO to build other commercial ships. By burning liquified natural gas, instead of the traditional bunker oil, the ship will be more efficient and significantly less polluting.
“Ports and regions that embrace the LNG opportunities before us stand to gain the most in terms of jobs, economic growth and business connectivity with communities around the world,” commented Brian Taylor, the ceo of Jaxport, at the vessel launch.