Maersk Adds Tanker, 2 Heavy-Lift Ships

November 2011

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SIU-contracted Maersk Line, Limited (MLL), in conjunction with Rickmers-Linie (America) this month is scheduled to launch two heavy-lift ships that have reflagged under the Stars and Stripes. MLL also on Sept. 30 formally christened the ice-strengthened tanker Maersk Peary during a ceremony in Norfolk, Va.

 

SIU President Michael Sacco (pictured below) was a featured speaker at a Peary post-christening event that also spotlighted Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. He commended MLL President and CEO John Reinhart as well as the company as a whole for their commitment to the U.S. Merchant Marine.


“Maersk deserves a ton of credit for creating jobs during these rough economic times,” the SIU president stated. “What could be more important at a time like this?”


He added that the Peary is “a great resource in the commercial sector for our partners from the Department of Defense,” and pointed out that although the times and shipboard technologies constantly change, one thing that remains the same is America’s need for a strong U.S. Merchant Marine.


“Without us, I wouldn’t even want to imagine who we could really count on to deliver the vital supplies to our armed forces,” Sacco stated. “Without us, it would only be a matter of time before the United States became an economic hostage of other countries whose ships call on our ports…. Thanks to partners like John Reinhart and Maersk, we have a structure that works to the benefit of our entire nation.”

 

The Peary (pictured below) embarked on its maiden voyage under the U.S. flag Oct. 1, and is expected to arrive at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, in January 2012 and then at Thule Air Force Base, Greenland, next summer.


For the ceremony, the freshly painted, 591-foot ship sat pier-side in downtown Norfolk and was adorned with red, white and blue bunting as distinguished guests, customers, partners, and colleagues welcomed the vessel into MLL’s U.S.-flag fleet.


The ship is named after the late Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary, famous for his excursions to the North Pole. It will travel annually to Thule Air Force Base and McMurdo Station delivering fuel to support military operations and research at the top and bottom of the globe. In July, MLL won a long-term time charter from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command to support these missions.


“The name-giving is a great opportunity to honor our customers and partners; reflect on our company’s commitment to the U.S.-flag maritime industry; and celebrate the strengthening of these partnerships,” said Reinhart at the ceremony. “We are fortunate that many of our esteemed guests, colleagues, and Admiral Peary’s descendants have joined us to celebrate our new tanker.”

 

Mrs. Mary Reinhart, the vessel’s godmother and wife of John Reinhart, blessed the ship and broke a bottle of champagne against the vessel’s hull in the time-honored fashion to bring good fortune to the ship and crew.

 

Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Virginia Sean Connaughton recognized the symbolic importance of the ship’s name.


“Vessel name-givings are about a name that the ship carries from port to port worldwide,” said Connaughton. “Maersk is one of the greatest names in the maritime industry. Peary symbolizes the courage of the explorer.”


Kevin M. Tokarski, associate administrator for national security at the U.S. Maritime Administration, spoke at the ceremony about the vital role that companies like Maersk Line, Limited have in maintaining our national security.


Meanwhile, roughly a week before the event in Norfolk, the heavy-lift reflaggings were announced. MLL and Rickmers-Linie (America), Inc. said they will provide “breakbulk and project cargo shipping” using two newly built, multi-purpose ships to be operated under the U.S. flag. The 19,000 deadweight ton vessels, named Maersk Illinois and Maersk Texas (pictured at right), have a maximum lift of 480 metric tons apiece and are twice the size of U.S.-flag multipurpose vessels currently in operation, according to the companies. The service will operate as Maersk-Rickmers U.S. Flag Project Carrier, Maersk-Rickmers for short.


“The introduction of these vessels further signals Maersk Line, Limited’s longterm commitment to the U.S. flag,” added Reinhart. “The partnership with Rickmers forms a strong team that will deliver outstanding service to shippers worldwide.”

 

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