PFEL Accepts Bethlehem Bid Of $20 Million For Ship Conversion

John I. Alioto, president of Pacific Far East Line, the San Francisco, Calif.-based steamship company, has announced the signing of a contract with Bethlehem Shipyards of San Francisco for the conversion of four PFEL LASH vessels to full containerships. The contract awarded Bethlehem Shipyards of San Francisco is slightly in excess of $20 million. The first ship to undergo corversion will be the 820-foot LASHIP Golden Bear. Conversion of the Golden Bear will commence April 15. Each ship will be laid up on a rotating basis approximately 70 days. Conversion of the Golden Bear will be completed by June 1977. Conversion of all four ships will be completed by January 1978. Presently, all four LASHIPS are combination container and LASH. The resulting conversion to complete containerization will mean that each converted ship will have the ability to handle 1,930 twenty-foot containers or equivalent, of which 200 may be refrigerated containers.

Commenting on the contract, P.G. Filip, general manager of Bethlehem's San Francisco Shipyard, stated: "We are greatly pleased that the job was awarded to Bethlehem. The conversion will bring immediate employment benefits to San Francisco, in that 350 men will be required for the structural steel work involved in the conversions. We are also happy that this activity was retained by the Port of San Francisco."

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