Maersk Line reflagging eight recently acquired container ships
Norfolk-based Maersk Line Ltd. is reflagging eight container ships it recently bought for nearly $500 million.
The company said the newer, larger ships will replace eight existing ships in its fleet in a move to improve the quality of its service to the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea from the East Coast.
Since 2000, MLL has invested more than $1.75 billion in modernizing its fleet.
In a statement, John Reinhart, the company’s president and CEO, said it is “focused on continual improvement, and these ships will further increase reliability and shrink our environmental footprint.”
The ships will join Maersk Line’s weekly Middle East Container Line service in May and June. The route serves commercial customers and the U.S. military and transports U.S.-grown food aid.
Maersk’s fleet includes 56 U.S. flag vessels, employing about 1,200 mariners.
Reflagging a ship ensures that it meets the safety, environmental, operational and compliance standards required by the U.S. Coast Guard and other U.S. maritime authorities.
Once a vessel meets all requirements and receives all U.S. government approvals, the vessel can come under the U.S. flag, making it eligible to carry cargo for the U.S. military, other government entities and commercial shippers.
The eight new vessels are named in honor of American cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Memphis and Pittsburgh. On May 1, Maersk Chicago was the first of the vessels to be reflagged.