More than 3,400 gathered to watch as the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containership, christened Isla Bella, was launched in San Diego. TOTE, in partnership with General Dynamics NASSCO, celebrated the completion of the first of two Marlin Class containerships headed to home port at JAXPORT later this year.
The Isla Bella will enter service in the fourth quarter of 2015 between Jacksonville and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The second Marlin Class vessel will be launched later this year and will enter service in the first quarter of 2016.
Anthony Chiarello, President and CEO of TOTE noted, “Building the Marlins has been about change as well as bold and innovative thinking. NASSCO and our other partners have enabled us to build these ships that reflect our commitment to the environment and doing what is right.”
The Marlin Class vessels have attracted international attention as the first cargo ships in the world to run on natural gas. In addition to their improved environmental profile, the Marlins will represent a new standard in safety and TOTE’s long-term commitment to the people of Puerto Rico.
“Ports and regions that embrace the LNG opportunities before us stand to gain the most in terms of jobs, economic growth and business connectivity with communities around the world,” said JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor. “The launching of this ship solidifies Northeast Florida’s place as a pioneer in the commercial benefits of LNG, thanks to groundbreaking decisions by our long-time port customers and the innovative spirit of the business and political leadership in our region.”
The ship’s name, Isla Bella, was selected from a contest hosted in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico. Isla Bella translates to beautiful island in English and will serve as a reminder of the cultural and economic significance of the ships for future generations.