Feature, Freight News, Sea

A new dawn for Mersey shipping

[ October 20, 2016   //   ]

Atlantic Container Line (ACL) officially launched its new fleet of transatlantic con ro ships when Princess Anne christened the Atlantic Sea in Liverpool on 20 October.

Crowds lined Liverpool’s waterfront to witness the first royal christening on the Mersey since 1960, followed by a fireworks display and departure of the vessel.

ACL’s UK Managing Director, Ian Higby said that the event marked a “historic new dawn” for ACL, which has operated between North America and North Europe since 1967.

“This was an unforgettable day for everyone at ACL,” he said. “It was wonderful to join our Liverpool and New Jersey offices together with our owners, the Grimaldi Family, the UK Shipping Minister, John Hayes and many distinguished guests in the presence of The Princess Royal. It was especially poignant to be able to thank the people of Liverpool and Merseyside who have supported us passionately since we first started business.”

ACL ships have called Liverpool twice a week, every week since 1969 and the line’s European HQ is now in Liverpool in a new purpose‐built office on Duke Street, the first built by a shipping line in the city since , employing nearly 170 staff.

ACL’s new fleet of Generation 4 (G4) vessels – the largest of their kind in the world – will replace the existing fleet of G3 ships and double transatlantic capacity, calling in Liverpool twice a week.

Shipping minister John Hayes added: “Merseyside has a rich maritime history, and the future is looking even brighter, thanks to the launch of these new generation transatlantic ships which will bring jobs to Liverpool. This major project will add to the growing number of ships flying the UK flag and support this Government’s efforts to grow our world class maritime industries.”

The minister also took the time to visit the Port of Liverpool to view the final stages of work on phase 1 of the Liverpool2 container terminal ahead of its official opening next month.

Each of the new G4 vessels, built in Shanghai at Hudong‐Zhonghua Shipyard, can carry 3,800 containers, 1300 vehicles and have 28,900 m2 high and heavy ro ro capacity . The Christening also saw a blessing in memory of the ACL G2 vessel, the Atlantic Conveyor, which was sunk during the Falklands War with a loss of 12 crewmen on May 25, 1982. Six Cunard seamen, including Captain Ian North, died when the ship which had been requisitioned by the Royal Navy, was struck by two Exocet missiles. Six Royal Navy personnel also perished. A permanent memorial to their sacrifice stands at Liverpool Parish Church.

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