PERLA DEL CARIBE – NASSCO Launches Second LNG-Powered Containership for TOTE

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The world’s second LNG-powered containership was launched Saturday at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

The Perla del Caribe is the second of two Marlin-class containerships built at NASSCO for Jones Act shipping company TOTE Maritime.

The use of LNG fuel make the vessels among the most environmentally-friendly containerships in the world, reducing particulate matter by 98 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 72 percent.

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The Perla del Caribe was christened and then launched Saturday night in a large ceremony open to the public. The ship’s sponsor, Ms. Emma Engle, a third-generation shareholder of Saltchuk, TOTE’s parent company, christened the ship with a traditional champagne bottle break over the ship’s hull. Alcinda Buirds, a 32-year NASSCO employee, then pulled the trigger to release the ship into the San Diego Bay.

“To NASSCO shipbuilders, a launch signals the near completion of the construction of a ship; it’s when the ship enters the ocean for the very first time. It’s a moment of pride for the thousands of men and women who built the ship – piece by piece, block by block. For the Perla del Caribe, it’s no different, and when the ship is delivered, we will be very proud to say, ‘We Built That,’” said Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager of General Dynamics NASSCO.

As part of a two-ship contract signed in December 2012 with TOTE, the 764-foot long Marlin class containerships will be the largest dry cargo ships powered by LNG, and the world’s first containerships to use the fuel.

Upon delivery of the first vessel, Isla Bella, in late-2015, the Jones Act-qualified ships will operate between Jacksonville, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Perla del Caribe is due for delivery in Q1 2016.

Over the past decade, NASSCO has delivered eleven commercial ships and has orders for ten commercial ships, including the two Marlin Class containerships for TOTE. During this same decade, NASSCO has delivered 17 ships to the U.S. Navy, including notable newbuilds such as the new mobile landing platforms (MLPs).

For its commercial work, NASSCO partners with South Korean shipbuilding power, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), for access to state-of-the-art ship design and shipbuilding technologies. The Marlin-class is based on proven containership-design standards and include DSME’s patented LNG fuel-gas system, a single MAN B&W ME-GI dual-fuel gas-powered engine with two 900 cubic meter stern-mounted cryogenic fuel tanks.

The vessels will operate under charter agreements with Sea Star Line LLC, an operating company of TOTE Maritime.

Marlin-class Specifications

  • LOA: 764 feet
  • Breadth: 106 feet (Panamax)
  • Depth: 60 feet
  • Design Draft: 34 feet
  • Main Engine: Duel Fuel Slow Speed
  • Engine Model: MAN 8L70ME-C8.2GI
  • Speed: 22 knots
  • Capacity: 3,100 TEU

Photos courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO