TOTE Maritime Alaska has selected Seaspan Shipyards’ Victoria Shipyards (VSL) to conduct yard production work and docking required for the conversion of its two vessels’ diesel engines to dual-fuel systems.

Following the work, the two TOTE Orca class vessels will be able to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel.

The conversion will be completed in four phases and includes the ‘North Star’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ vessels.

Both the roll-on, roll-off vessels are 839ft long and are deployed to carry cargo between Anchorage, Alaska, and Tacoma, Washington in the US.

VSL has already started work on ‘North Star’, which has completed a 60-day visit to the shipyard and has concluded the first phase of the conversion work.

The vessel returned to Alaska, marking the first voyage powered by two new LNG tanks.

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“The engine conversion work of both the vessels is expected to provide employment for 300-400 people working six days a week.”

The engine conversion work of both the vessels is expected to provide employment for 300-400 people working six days a week.

Seaspan Shipyards president and CEO Brian Carter said: “With the completion of this first phase of work, our workforce has demonstrated that it is fully capable of handling these complex conversions and we look forward to future work on similar projects.”

VSL expects to complete the final transition of the vessels to LNG in three more conversion periods that are anticipated to last the next four years.

Conversion of both the ships is scheduled to be complete in the first quarter of 2021.

With the conversion, TOTE aims to reduce the most harmful emissions, which result from burning diesel.

Retrofitted engines are set to enable the company to meet and exceed all new emission standards while extending the vessels’ working lives.