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Washington State Ship

The President Washington

Container ship
Container Type Vessel

The MV President Washington was declared the "Washington State Ship" by House Floor Resolution No. 9 on February 19, 1983. Evidence indicates that this newly built ship was made official to symbolize the economic importance of Washington maritime trade with the Pacific Rim countries on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. Snippets of floor testimony, in support of the resolution, follow:

"The maritime industry in Washington State generates one in every thirty-three jobs and handles international commerce valued in excess of twenty-one billion dollars ...

"The largest containership ever built in this country ... is entering transpacific service, and ...

"This ship and its two sisterships will make possible the export of more containers from the Pacific Northwest to Asia and thereby further contribute to the region's economic expansion...

"The State of Washington has become the gateway for cargo moving between Asia and the Pacific Northwest, the Atlantic Seaboard and all of Canada with such trade generating several hundred million dollars of business activities within Washington State ..."

About the MV President Washington

The President Washington was a container ship or vessel. A container ship is an ocean-going vessel specially designed and built to transport cargo in truck-size containers. The President Washington was the first and the only container ship to be adopted as an official state symbol.

Certainly one of the reasons the President Washington was honored was because it was the largest container vessel to have been built in the United States at the time. It's overall length was 860 feet and its beam (width) measured 105 feet, nine inches. It was powered by one Sulzer 12 cylinder diesel engine acheiving 43,200 horsepower @ 126 RPM. Its single 23 foot screw (propeller) weighed 98,000 pounds. It was built in 1983 by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana and was owned by American Presidential Lines (APL) of California.

The Lady Washington

On January 11, 2006, House Bill No. 2587, sponsored by Representative Brian Blake and others, was read for the first time in the Washington House of Represetatives. This bill was titled

AN ACT Relating to designating the Lady Washington as the official ship of the state of Washington; and adding a new section to chapter 3 1.20 RCW.

In 2007, Representative Blake was back. On January 10, 2007, House Bill No. 1084 was read for the first time in the Washington House of Representatives. This bill is titled

AN ACT Relating to designating the Lady Washington as the official ship of the state of Washington; and adding a new section to chapter 1.20 RCW.

Sound familiar?

Old State Ships Don't Die...

The President Washington spent many years doing what container ships are built to do. It traveled the Pacific Ocean, docking at Hong Kong, Mexico and Canada. Cargo was loaded and unloaded.

In May of 1994, at the entrance to Pusan Harbor, South Korea, the container ship Hanjin Hong Kong ran into the President Washington. This cost APL about $2 million. Then, APL lost its position as primary carrier of U.S. military cargo. On January 2, 1996, APL sold the MV President Washington to Matson Navigation Company, headquartered in Oakland, California.

The MV Mount Washington still does what she does best, but these days she's known as the MV Mahimahi. You can find out where she is by clicking here.

Additional Information

House Bill No. 1084: AN ACT Relating to designating the Lady Washington as the official 2 ship of the state of Washington; and adding a new section to chapter 3 1.20 RCW.

The Lady Washington: Official website of the Lady Washington, the ship that starred as the brig Enterprise in Star Trek: Generations and as the HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

MV Mahimahi: Tylon Leung's photograph of Matson's MV Mahimahi, formerly the MV President Washington, "Washington State Ship"

APL Limited: APL (American President Lines) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, a global transportation and logistics company engaged in shipping and related businesses..

Matson Navigation Company, Inc.: Official website.


Source: APL Limited, (http://www.apl.com/), March 2, 2007
Washington State Legislature, (http://www1.leg.wa.gov/), March 2, 2007
The Marine Digest, February 19, 1983, p.21

 

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