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Friday, August 27, 2010 - 6:33am

Whopper Of A Ship Calls On Savannah

Savannah residents are used to seeing big ships float up and down the Savannah River on their way to the Georgia Ports Authority docks.

But the one that arrived this morning was a whopper.

In fact, at 1,100 feet long and 140 feet wide, the M/V CMA CGM Figaro is the largest-ever ship to call on the Savannah port.

"The future of shipping is here today," said GPA Executive Director Curtis Foltz, who joined reporters at the ship's dock-side arrival.

As crews tied the Figaro to shore and longshoremen prepared to unload its containers, Foltz noted the ship arrived less-than-full.

"The Figaro... will be restricted in its loading capacity in Savannah from its designated 49.5 feet," Foltz said.

That's because, if the ship had arrived weighted down with more cargo on board, it would not have been able to traverse the Savannah harbor's 42-foot channel depth.

"The Figaro is a current reminder of why the deepening of our waterways is critical to economic and job growth for our region."

The Georgia Ports Authority is currently planning to deepen the Savannah harbor to 48-feet, a multi-billion-dollar project with an estimated completion date of 2015.