The launch of the first Marlin-class container ship in April. Courtesy NASSCO

General Dynamics NASSCO is opening up its shipyard in Barrio Logan to the public Saturday night to see the launch of a giant natural gas-powered container ship it is building.

Gates open at 6:30 p.m., the ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. and the launch will end with fireworks. Alcinda Buirds, a 32-year NASSCO employee, will pull the trigger to release the ship into San Diego Bay.

The Marlin-class vessel, and a similar one launched in April, are the world’s first container ships to be powered by clean liquefied natural gas. The technology will reduce the ship’s emissions of particulate matter by 98 percent and carbon dioxide by 72 percent — the equivalent of removing more than 15,700 cars from the road, according to NASSCO.

The LNG container ships were built for the shipping firm TOTE, which plans to use them for cargo runs between Jacksonville, FL, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Officials will also announce the vessel’s name during the ceremony, which is timed to take advantage of high tide.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.