U.S. Coast Guard Certifies World’s First LNG Containership – MV Isla Bella

Mike Schuler
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October 19, 2015

Tote 1, aka Isla Bella, during August sea trials. Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO


The Coast Guard on Saturday issued a certificate of inspection to the LNG-powered MV Isla Bella.

The 736-foot, 3,100 TEU, U.S.-flagged vessel is the first container ship in the world capable of operating on liquefied natural gas.

The Isla Bella is the first of two Marlin-class containerships built by NASSCO in San Diego for operation by TOTE Services in the Jones Act trade between Jacksonville, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Tragically, the Isla Bella was to replace the ill-fated El Faro, which sank earlier this month during Hurricane Joaquin with the loss of all 33 crew members.

“Vessels issued certificates of inspection have undergone a rigorous set of inspections to ensure they conform to U.S. laws and regulations that ensure the vessel has suitable structure, proper equipment and crew accommodations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kris J Szczechowicz, Chief, Prevention Department, Sector San Diego. “The Isla Bella is inspected under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Alternate Compliance Program, which is a voluntary alternate process for a U.S. registered vessel to obtain a certificate of inspection by complying with the standards of an authorized classification society, International Conventions and a U.S. Supplement.”

The Isla Bella was scheduled to depart San Diego Monday, the Coast Guard said.

“I am truly honored to issue this certificate of inspection to the Master of the motor vessel Isla Bella,” said Capt. Jonathan S. Spaner, Commander, Sector San Diego. “This ship is a great American story of vision, innovation, hard work, and determination. Indeed, the Isla Bella is the most environmentally friendly containership in the world today. With over 90 percent of all trade moving on the water, our involvement with this project will help to shape standards and regulations globally that advance the balance among commerce, security, and environmental sustainability. I congratulate everyone who played a part on this historic project.”

The Coast Guard said it worked collaboratively with numerous industry partners over the past several years to ensure the delivery of a safe, secure, and environmentally compliant vessel that is ready for operation.

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