Cantwell Celebrates J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding’s Launch of Northern Leader

Launch is a milestone in vessel’s construction, accomplishment for Martinac, workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) congratulated the workers of J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding for Saturday morning’s successful launch of the Northern Leader. The 184-foot freezer longliner – the largest fishing vessel currently under construction in the United States -- launched Saturday at 5:30 A.M. from Martinac’s shipyard in Tacoma.

“Today’s launch of the Northern Leader is a tremendous accomplishment for Martinac and its workers – and good economic news for Pierce County,” said Cantwell. “The launch of the Northern Leader is another proud step in the 89-year history of Martinac building ships and creating jobs in the Puget Sound. I was proud to write and spearhead the passage of Congressional legislation in 2010 that supported the construction of the Northern Leader. We look forward to building more state-of-the-art fishing vessels right here in Washington state and supporting the growth of our maritime economy.”

Cantwell wrote legislation (S. 1609) signed into law in December 2010 that created a cooperative for the freezer longline fishery. The cooperative eliminates the race for fish and enables companies to harvest more value from each catch, helping to increase profit by 20 percent and spur investment in new fishing vessels with greater processing and storage capacity. The Northern Leader will have greater processing capacity and one of the largest freezer hold capacities of any longliner vessel.

In August 2012, Cantwell visited Martinac Shipyards and called for the extension of veterans-hiring tax credits set to expire at the end of 2012. Veterans historically make up 40 percent of Martinac’s workforce. On January 1, 2013, the fiscal cliff deal passed Congress and included an extension of veterans-hiring tax credits through 2013, along with the state and local sales tax deduction.