TAMPA — The 750-foot-long Ireland, one of the biggest cargo vessels ever to call at Port Tampa Bay, arrived Sunday.
The Ireland is on its inaugural voyage, having left a shipyard in China for a stop in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula to pick up 64,865 short tons of limestone for delivery to Tampa. Like granite, steel and cement, limestone is in heavy demand right now by the bay area's booming construction industry.
The Ireland is owned by Vulcan Materials Co., of Birmingham, Ala., the nation's largest producer of construction aggregates like crushed stone and gravel and a tenant of 23 acres at Port Tampa Bay since 1991. Named one of the "Great Ships of 2017" by Maritime Reporting & Engineering News, the Ireland can unload 4,500 metric tons of cargo per hour.
At 909 feet, the container ship Montevideo Express, which called at Tampa in January 2015, was the largest cargo vessel Port Tampa Bay has seen at the dock. Cruise ships, which are bigger, are another matter, port spokeswoman Samara Sodos said Monday.
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