The first new U.S.-flagged Great Lakes bulk carrier to be built in more than 35 years was launched at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. on December 17.
Scheduled for completion in mid-2022, the Interlake Steamship Company’s new River-Class, self-unloading bulk carrier Mark W. Barker is believed to be the first ship for U.S. Great Lakes service built on the Great Lakes since 1983.
Measuring 639 feet long, 78 feet wide and 45 feet tall, with a deadweight of 28,000 tons, the ship will transport raw materials such as salt, iron ore and stone to support manufacturing throughout the Great Lakes region.
The hull, which is said to be structurally about 70% complete, was moved out of the graving dock where she has been being assembled since this summer.
The move to new location at the shipyard makes space for the arrival of Fincantieri’s winter fleet of fellow U.S. flag vessels which will undergo millions of dollars of repairs and reinvestment in the off season.
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