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First phase of Orca Class conversion to LNG power complete

Photo: TOTE Maritime
The following article was released February 26 by TOTE Maritime.

TOTE Maritime Alaska has completed the first of four conversion periods for the Orca Class vessels, a process that will enable the ships to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel. TOTE Maritime's North Star arrived in Anchorage February 25, completing her first voyage after being outfitted with two LNG tanks immediately behind the ship's bridge.

In addition to the LNG tanks and accompanying infrastructure, the ship received critical engine updates necessary to utilize LNG as a fuel and underwent a standard regulatory dry-dock.

TOTE Maritime was the first maritime shipping company in the world to announce its intention to convert their fleet, enabling the engines to use both LNG and diesel.

This conversion will drastically reduce air emissions from TOTE Maritime's Alaska ships, virtually eliminating sulfur oxides (SOx) and particulate matter while drastically reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide. Reduced emissions will result in a healthier environment for Tacoma, WA, Puget Sound and Anchorage, AK, the communities in which TOTE Maritime operates.

"We are excited to be the first shipping company in the United States to undertake this important environmental effort," noted Mike Noone, president of TOTE Maritime Alaska. "And we are appreciative of our customers and partners who support our ongoing effort to innovate in ways that reflect our commitment to the environment and communities we serve."

Over the next four years, three more conversion periods will be required to finalize the transition of TOTE Maritime Alaska's vessels to LNG. Each of these conversion periods will take place in the winter to minimize the impact to customers and consumers alike. The conversion of both ships is scheduled to be complete in the first quarter of 2021.


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