Bath Iron Launches Fourth Ro/Ro Ship For States Steamship

The last of four roll-on/roll-off cargo ships built by Bath Iron Works Corporation (BIW), Bath, Maine, for States Steamship Company of San Francisco, Calif., was launched on December 21, 1976. Named the S/S Illinois, the 684-foot vessel is part of the Maine Class of ships whose flagship is the S/S Maine, launched at BIW in 1975. Since then, the shipyard has launched and delivered sisterships Arizona and Nevada.

Speakers at the ceremonies were U.S. Representative David F. Emery (Maine), and John F. Sullivan, president of BIW. The invocation was provided by Father Stephen W. Foote, rector of the church of St. Mary the Virgin, Falmouth Foreside.

Sponsor for the ship was Mrs. Eileen Johnson, wife of Alvin C. Johnson, senior vice president of the First National Bank of Chicago. Another participant, Lance Corporal Debrah Meyman, U.S. Marines (and a native Chicagoan Chicagoan), presented the State of Illinois flag to Robert Gray, vice president of States Steamship Company, on behalf of the ship's master.

Like her sisters, the Illinois is powered by steam turbines developing 37,000 hp, giving the ship a cruising speed of 23 knots. She will carry mixed cargo in the trans-Pacific trade, with the emphasis on containerized cargo. Her design allows her to be loaded from dockside by simply driving cargo aboard using forklifts or "straddle-lift" carriers.

In addition, the class of ships is designed to carry 12 passengers on each vessel in luxurious accommodations. The Pacific circuit on which the four ships operate includes several major West Coast ports as well as Honolulu, Yokohama, Singapore, Hong Kong, in addition to several Southeast Asian ports.

The next cargo ships to be built at BIW will be conventional containerships requiring dockside cranes to load and unload. Present contracts call for a 720-foot containership for Matson Navigation Company and two 610-foot containerships for American Export Lines.

Bath Iron Works Corporation is the wholly-owned shipbuilding subsidiary of Congoleum Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis.

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