Perla del Caribe

General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has launched and christened the second Marlin-class vessel at its shipyard in San Diego, US.

Constructed for Jersey-based Saltchuk group Tote, the Perla del Caribe is one of the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered containerships.

General Dynamics Nassco vice-president and general manager Kevin Graney said: "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."

The new Marlin-class will reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 98%, particulate matter by 99%, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide by 71%, compared to Tote’s other ships operating in Puerto Rico.

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"It’s a moment of pride for the thousands of men and women who built the ship, piece by piece, block by block."

The new 764ft-long Marlin-class containerships will be deployed for cargo exports between US-owned ports such as Jacksonville, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In December 2012, Nassco and Tote dined a contract to construct two Marlin-class, the Jones Act-qualified ships. Nassco started construction of the first vessel in February last year.

Delivery of the first vessel is expected to take place later this year, while the second ship is scheduled for next year.

In September 2014, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) sanctioned a $324.6m loan guarantee to Tote and its parent company Saltchuk Resources for the construction of the vessels.

Image: Tote’s second liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered containership, Perla del Caribe. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.