Isla Bella will Serve Puerto Rico Once in Service.
April 18, 2015 (San Diego, CA) – More than 3,400 gathered to watch as the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containership, christened Isla Bella, was launched tonight in San Diego. The ships’ owner TOTE, in partnership with General Dynamics NASSCO, celebrated the completion of the first of two Marlin Class containerships headed to Puerto Rico later this year.
The use of LNG as a marine fuel in the U.S. defines a major shift for the industry. By switching to LNG, TOTE is reducing NOx emissions by 98 percent, SOx by 97 percent, carbon dioxide by 72 and particulate matter by 60 percent in the Puerto Rico trade.
In his remarks Anthony Chiarello, President and CEO of TOTE noted “Building the Marlins has been about change as well as bold and innovative thinking. NASSCO and our other partners have enabled us to build these ships that reflect our commitment to the environment and doing what is right.”
The Marlin Class vessels have attracted international attention as the first cargo ships in the world to run on natural gas. In addition to their improved environmental profile, the Marlins will represent a new standard in safety and TOTE’s long-term commitment to the people of Puerto Rico.
The Chairman of Saltchuk, TOTE’s parent company, Mark Tabbutt thanked the many partners who worked on the new generation of containership. “We especially want to thank the hundreds of men and women that did the real work – the welding, the piping, the lifting, the planning, the electrical, the designing, the logistics, the painting, and all the other work that went into making these ships a reality.” He went on to recognize the support of the U.S. Maritime Administration and NASSCO for their long term partnership.
The ship’s name, Isla Bella, was selected from a contest hosted in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico. Isla Bella translates to beautiful island in English and will serve as a reminder of the cultural and economic significance of the ships for future generations.
Sophie Sacco, wife of Michael Sacco President of the Seafarers International Union, is the ship’s sponsor and had the honors of christening and launching the vessel.
Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation provided the keynote address. “America’s maritime industry is critical not just for the economic benefits, but for national security purposes as well. With the launch of the world’s first natural gas-powered containership, NASSCO and TOTE prove that American shipbuilders and American ships can lead the industry in innovation, and it is my hope that American shipbuilders and operators can continue to build upon this success.”
General Paul Selva, Commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) also spoke. “This first Marlin class ship exemplifies the technology and innovation that the United States is known for. It also highlights the commitment of companies like TOTE to supporting the U.S. military and maritime sector that is vitally important to our national defense” he noted in his remarks.
“The launch of the Isla Bella signals a very significant milestone for the thousands of men and women at NASSCO. Not only does it commemorate NASSCO’s 100th ship launch, it validates NASSCO’s capability to break new ground in green ship technology and lead in the design, construction, and conversion of ships to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of LNG,” said Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO.
The Isla Bella will enter service in the fourth quarter of 2015 between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The second Marlin Class vessel will be launched in the third quarter of 2015 and will enter service in the first quarter of 2016.