San Diego

Largest Container Ship Launches from San Diego Port, Creates 900 Jobs

General Dynamics NASSCO hired 200 people to start building and are expected to hire 700 more people.

Lurline is the largest container ship ever built in the U.S., according to shipbuilding company General Dynamics NASSCO. The company said she is 870 feet long, just shy of three football fields, and she weighs more than 44,000 tons.

President of NASSCO, Kevin Graney said his team and Matson, a Honolulu based company, signed a contract to build two new container ships for the company. They started building Lurline 18 months ago in NASSCO’s shipyard. They hired 200 people to start building it along with the U.S. Navy ships they were working on too.

The second ship they are building is called, Matsonia and they’ll also be working on six fleet oilers.

Graney said they would hire another 700 workers to finish the second ship for Matson.

“We are 25 to 26 percent done with the second ship in the Matson contract,” said Graney.

On Saturday just after 6:30 p.m. Lurline was christened by a Matson’s board member, Ms. Constance Lau. Lau broke a bottle of champagne on its bow and then it launched from the port with NASSCO employees and the public cheering for its send off.

Lurline and Matsonia will replace three other 40-year-old Matson containerships.

In a press release NASSCO reports: 

This ship is the largest containership built in San Diego with liquefied natural gas capable engines and an energy efficient design. Lurline is the lead ship of a two-vessel contract being built for Honolulu-based Matson at General Dynamics NASSCO.

Thousands of individuals had a role in constructing the Lurline. The design of the ship provides the capability to transport containers, automobiles and rolling stock, including trailers. The construction and operation of the Lurline and its future sister ship are aligned with the Jones Act.

Lurline will commute between Honolulu, Oakland, and Long Beach. It will set sail for Hawaii toward the end of 2019.

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