Maersk Line, Limited said today it has completed the reflagging of the MAERSK ILLINOIS, MLL’s newest multipurpose heavy-lift vessel, to the U.S. registry. The ship is one of two newly built sister vessels – the other is the MAERSK TEXAS – that the company acquired in September 2011 to sail for Maersk-Rickmers U.S. Flag Project Carrier, or Maersk-Rickmers for short, established to provide U.S. customers with heavy-lift breakbulk and project cargo shipping requiring U.S. flag service.
The reflagging of the MAERSK ILLINOIS was completed just prior to loading its first U.S. flag impelled cargo on December 30 and set sail for Ghana with its new crew of mariners from AMO and SIU.
“We are pleased to see this reflagging process completed, allowing us to introduce our modern ship and bring new value to the U.S. flag project cargo market,” said Dave Harriss, Director of Ship Management and Chartering at MLL. “We are now looking forward to bringing the MAERSK TEXAS into the U.S. flag fleet as we continue to build the service.”
The 19,600 DWT MAERSK ILLINOIS is 148 meters long and can carry 20,000 cubic meters of cargo. With two onboard cargo cranes with a combined maximum lift of 480 metric tons, she is suited for handling of a wide variety of heavy and bulky cargo such as generators, locomotives, wind and gas turbines, hazardous materials, among other cargo.
“As Maersk-Rickmers, we now offer a solution that will soon become the first choice for our clients,” said Steve Garifalos, General Manager of Sales and Customer Service at Rickmers-Linie (America). “Expansion of the U.S. flag multipurpose fleet benefits project businesses and those shippers needing heavy-lift service.”
The two sister vessels previously flew the Marshall Islands flag and were preparing for their maiden voyages in September. The vessels will provide twice the capacity of any U.S. flag multipurpose vessels currently in operation.