Largest Container Ship Built in San Diego Launched

Lurline launching
Lurline launching

Published Jun 16, 2019 8:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

General Dynamics NASSCO christened and launched the container ship Lurline on June 15, the largest container ship ever built in San Diego.  

The Lurline is an 870-foot-long, 3,500 TEU, 44,200 deadweight metric ton, combination container ship/roll-on, roll-off (ConRo) vessel built for Honolulu-based Matson, Inc. She has LNG-capable engines and is the lead ship of a two-vessel contract being built for Matson at General Dynamics NASSCO.

Named in honor of the ocean deity revered in the native Hawaiian culture, Matson’s first Kanaloa Class vessel has an enclosed garage space for up to 800 vehicles or breakbulk cargo. She is able to operate at speeds up to 23 knots. 

This first Kanaloa class vessel will be the sixth Matson vessel to bear the name Lurline. The original Lurline was Capt. William Matson’s second vessel, a brigantine built by Matthew Turner, Shipbuilder of Benicia, California in 1887. Named by sugar tycoon, Claus Spreckels, the vessel made its first sailing from San Francisco to Hawaii on June 16, 1887.

The second Kanaloa Class vessel will be the fifth Matson vessel to be named Matsonia. The first Matsonia was built for Matson by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Launched on August 16, 1912, she was in service for three years before being commandeered by the U.S. Shipping Board to serve as a Navy Transport in the Atlantic during WWI. As a passenger liner, Matsonia could accommodate 242 passengers in addition to 10,000 tons of cargo.

The Kanaloa Class vessels represent an investment of more than $500 million. The two ships will replace three diesel powered vessels in active service. With delivery of the Kanaloa Class ships, along with its two new Aloha Class ships, Matson will have completed the renewal of its Hawaii fleet, allowing it to retire its seven older steamship vessels that will no longer comply with environmental regulations in 2020 without substantial modification.

Ceremony participants include General Dynamics NASSCO president Kevin Graney and Matson CEO Matt Cox. Constance Lau, CEO and director of Hawaiian Electric Industries and a Matson board of directors member, christened the ship with the traditional break of a champagne bottle on the hull.