The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):
(SAN DIEGO) — U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen joined federal, congressional, state and local officials to launch Isla Bella, the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered containership. This vessel is one of two new containerships designed to run on natural gas that were ordered by TOTE Shipholdings Inc., a Seattle-based maritime company.
The 764-foot Marlin-class vessel has two dual-fuel engines that will operate primarily on LNG but are also capable of burning diesel when needed, which will significantly reduce the air-polluting emissions. TOTE will operate the vessels between the Port of Jacksonville and Puerto Rico, transporting containers, automobiles and other cargoes. The ships will provide greater efficiencies and increase the available volume of refrigeration equipment used for shipping, which is critical to ensuring pharmaceuticals, produce and other products vital to the residents of Puerto Rico are delivered in the best possible condition.
“Federal investment proves, once again, to pay big dividends,” Jaenichen said. “As a nation that relies on waterborne freight transportation, our maritime industry is moving steadily forward on renewable energy and clean-fuel options while increasing shipping efficiencies that benefit American consumers.”
This ship is one of two ships that are being financed with a $324.6 million Federal Ship Financing Program (Title XI) loan guarantee from the Maritime Administration (MarAd) to finance its construction. The MARAD Title XI loan guarantee program promotes the growth and modernization of U.S. shipyards and the U.S. Merchant Marine by ensuring that American vessels are manufactured in American shipyards by American workers.
The Title XI program guarantees the repayment of loans, obtained in the private sector by shipowners, for the construction reconstruction, or reconditioning of vessels in U.S. shipyards. MarAd currently guarantees approximately $1.7 billion in U.S. shipbuilding projects.