MSC Fabiola: Largest Container Ship To Call On North American Port Arrives At Oakland Port
[MSC Fabiola is a container ship owned by Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the largest such vessel ever to dock in North America. In March 2012 the ship shifted from its initial Asia-to-Europe service to begin trans-Pacific service. On March 19, 2012, Fabiola docked at the Port of Long Beach, breaking earlier records for the largest container ship at a US port, and at any North American port.
MSC Fabiola is the first of a series of identical sister ships. The other three are MSC Faustina, MSC Fillippa, and MSC Filomena.
At the first US stop in Long Beach, California, the ship was too tall to fit under the Gerald Desmond Bridge and dock at MSCs own terminal, so the Hanjin terminal was used instead. Two days later, Fabiola passed under the Golden Gate Bridge to become the largest ship to enter the San Francisco Bay. The ship docked at the Port of Oakland. MSC Fabiola takes about 18 days to cross the Pacific Ocean from California to China.
The presence of the MSC Fabiola at the Port of Oakland is the result of a 12-year harbor-deepening project that was largely completed in September 2009. Previously, the bay waters and harbor facilities only allowed for ships with a draft of 46 ft (14 m), but dredging activities undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the Port of Oakland succeeded in providing access for vessels with a 50-foot (15 m) draft.
Four dredging companies were employed in the $432 million project, with $244 million paid for with federal funds and $188 million supplied by the Port of Oakland. Some 6,000,000 cubic yards (4,600,000 m3) of mud from the dredging was deposited at the western edge of Middle Harbor Shoreline Park to become a 188-acre (76 ha) shallow-water wetlands habitat for marine and shore life. Further dredging followed in 2011, to maintain the navigation channel. Prior to the arrival of the MSC Fabiola, the Port of Oakland prepared by checking channel depth and dredging as needed. San Francisco Bay pilots trained for the visit on a simulator at the California Maritime Academy for over a year. The ship arrived drawing less than its full draft of 50 feet 10 inches (15.5 m) because it held only three-quarters of a load after its stop in Long Beach]. – Wikipedia
Photos: The container ship MSC Fabiola is seen docked at the Port of Oakland on March 22, 2012, in Oakland, California. The MSC Fabiola is the largest container ship ever to dock at any seaport in North America with an overall length of nearly one quarter mile long. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)