The 764 foot-long American-flagged boxship is the first of two Marlin Class container ships contracted by TOTE Maritime and built by General Dynamics NASSCO in partnership with the American Bureau of Shipping and the U.S. Coast Guard.
“The Isla Bella is a true engineering feat,” said Panama Canal Administrator/CEO Jorge L. Quijano. “We are honored that this vessel, with its unique technology, transited the Canal.”The Isla Bella is scheduled to begin providing freight service between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the fourth quarter of 2015, ploughing the same route on which TOTE Maritime’s 1970-built container ship El Faro sank on October 1.
The Isla Bella’s sister ship – the Perla del Caribe – was launched in San Diego back in August, and is expected to enter the same service in the first quarter of 2016.
The transit by the Isla Bella marks a milestone for the maritime industry and the Panama Canal as it nears the completion of its first-ever expansion scheduled to open in 2016.
Images: Panama Canal/Twitter