More Jones Act tonnage is on the way, following the June 30 christening of the Seafarers-contracted containership Daniel K. Inouye at Philly Shipyard.
The Inouye is the largest U.S.-built containership (850 feet long, 3,600 TEUs). It is named in memory of the late U.S. Senator from Hawaii – and honorary SIU book holder – who was a longtime backer of the U.S. maritime industry and its role in supporting Hawaii’s economy. Inouye passed away in December 2012.
Among those attending the ceremony for the SIU were Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone, Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi and Philadelphia Port Agent Joe Baselice.
Dr. Peter Navarro, assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Trade & Manufacturing Policy, was a featured speaker. He also wrote an article prior to the ceremony in which he expressed the administration’s strong support for the Jones Act and cargo preference – and he pointed out that the Inouye was built with union labor.
Other speakers at the christening included Gen. Darren McDew, commanding officer of the U.S. Transportation Command; Maritime Administrator Mark Buzby; former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell; company and shipyard officials, and more. Irene Hirano Inouye, Sen. Inouye’s widow, christened the vessel by breaking a ceremonial bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull.
The Daniel K. Inouye is the first of two Aloha Class vessels being built for Matson at Philly Shipyard. When the yard announced the start of construction, it said in a news release that the new tonnage would constitute “Matson’s largest ships. They will also be faster, designed to operate at speeds in excess of 23 knots, helping ensure timely delivery of goods in Hawaii. Though bigger, the ships are also designed to accommodate future needs by being able to navigate safely into some of Hawaii’s smaller ports. The new vessels will incorporate a number of ‘green ship technology’ features that will help protect the environment, including a more fuelefficient hull design, dual fuel engines that can be adapted to use liquefied natural gas (LNG), environmentally safe double hull fuel tanks and fresh water ballast systems.”
The second ship is scheduled for delivery in 2019.
“This is a proud day for all of us at Matson,” said Matt Cox, Matson’s chairman and chief executive officer, at the shipyard ceremony. “Over our first 136 years, Matson’s fleet has evolved from sailing ships to larger steamers to diesel power, consistent with changes in technology and always evolving in step with the needs of a growing Hawaii economy.
“This new vessel, designed specifically to serve Hawaii and built with LNG-compatible engines, is the next generation of vessel and sets a new standard for cargo transportation in Hawaii,” he continued. “It also symbolizes Matson’s continuing commitment to serving our island home in the most efficient, effective and environmentally sound way into the future.”
Steinar Nerbovik, Philly Shipyard president and CEO, said, “It is with tremendous gratitude and pride that we celebrate the christening of Daniel K. Inouye, alongside Matson, a returning customer. When this ship is delivered, no matter where it travels, it will represent the finest craftsmanship of Philadelphia shipbuilders, and fulfill our promise to provide American built and owned ships that will safely and securely service our nation.”
Buzby commended the shipbuilders and the vessel itself and then added, “America has a proud maritime history, but it has never been just about ships and ports. To me it’s more about the American mariner; the men and women who have advanced the American way of life by serving at sea, and the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. They are always among the first called to action to support and sustain our armed forces in national and international crises. Those same mariners will breathe life into this new ship and sail her confidently and competently for years to come.”
Navarro said the following in his published article and echoed the same points at the ceremony: “The merchant marine helps to provide our military the mobility it requires, in both troops and equipment, to confront threats around the world. The Inouye and its sister ship will materially help add to the pool of highly trained merchant seamen. The same shipbuilding industrial base that constructs ships such as the Inouye is therefore essential to the maintenance and resilience of a robust United States Navy. The Jones Act and cargo preference were designed to meet these national security objectives, and the Trump administration is committed to improving both so that we once again have a robust United States-flag fleet and shipbuilding industry.”