Construction Starts on 2nd Matson Con-Ro at NASSCO


May 2018


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Union shipyard workers in San Diego have started construction on a Jones Act vessel that eventually will feature SIU crew members.


General Dynamics NASSCO in early April began production of the second ship in a two-vessel order for Seafarers-contracted Matson Navigation Company. Construction of the Matsonia began with a ceremonial first cut of steel at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard, where the first ship in the series (Lurline) is 15 percent complete. Both ships will transport containers, automobiles and rolling stock between the West Coast of the United States and Hawaii.


The vessels are combination container and roll-on/roll-off ships, abbreviated as Con-Ro. They’re being built to allow for future conversion to LNG propulsion. They will be 870 feet long, with beams of 114 feet and sailing speeds up to 23 knots. Both will be able to carry approximately 3,500 containers and up to 800 vehicles each.


“Matson’s customers in the Hawaii trade rely on us for dependable delivery of their goods, and these new Kanaloa-class vessels designed specifically for serving Hawaii will ensure we meet the highest standards of efficiency and reliability,” said Ron Forest, president of Matson.


“Designing and building these vessels brings pride to every member of our team,” said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “It’s an honor to add the Kanaloa-class vessels to NASSCO’s decades-long history in Jones Act ship production.”


Construction of the Lurline is scheduled to be complete in the fourth quarter of 2019. The Matsonia is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2020.


In a news release announcing the recent ceremony, the shipyard noted, “NASSCO partnered with DSEC Co., Ltd., to provide Matson with state-of-the-art ship design and shipbuilding technologies. For more than a decade, this partnership has produced premium ships for five separate Jones Act owners.”


In an earlier announcement, Matson noted the company “is calling these vessels the Kanaloa class in honor of the ocean deity revered in the native Hawaiian culture and will name each of the new vessels after predecessor ships from its 134-year history. The first vessel will be named Lurline, the sixth Matson vessel to carry that name, while the second vessel will be its fifth named Matsonia.”


Matson further reported that the new vessels will have state-of-the-art green technology features, including a fuel-efficient hull design, environmentally safe double-hull fuel tanks, fresh water ballast systems and dual-fuel engines


The two Kanaloa-class ships will replace three diesel-powered vessels in active service, which will be moved to reserve status. Eventually, Matson will operate nine ships in its Hawaii service.



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