General Dynamics (GD) NASSCO has launched the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containership, built for US shipping firm Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE).
The new-build Isla Bella was unveiled after the naming ceremony held at the company’s shipyard in San Diego.
GD NASSCO president Fred Harris said: "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."
The new vessel is part of a two-ship contract signed in 2012 and is expected to be delivered later this year.
Designed to burn either fuel oil or gas derived from LNG, the vessel will significantly decrease emissions while increasing fuel efficiency, when compared with conventionally powered ships.
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Isla Bella will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 98%, particulate matter by 99%, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide by 71%.
The vessel will be equipped with a dual-fuel, slow-speed 8L70ME-C8.2-GI engine and also a ballast water treatment system, helping the vessel to be more environmentally friendly.
TOTE has already partnered with Pivotal LNG and WesPac Midstream to provide LNG to the new ships. The second vessel in the series is scheduled for delivery early in 2016.
After receipt, the vessels will be chartered to Sea Star Line under an agreement signed in October 2014 to operate between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Image: TOTE’s new LNG-powered containership, Isla Bella. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.