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Maersk Line, Limited and Rickmers-Linie (America), Inc. have formed a partnership to provide a breakbulk and project-cargo service using U.S.-flag vessels. The lines will deploy two ships, each with a capacity of 19,000 deadweight tons, sailing as the Maersk Illinois and Maersk Texas. Each features a combined maximum lift of 480 metric tons and is twice the size of U.S.-flag multipurpose vessels currently in operation, the lines said. The service will operate as Maersk-Rickmers U.S. Flag Project Carrier, or Maersk-Rickmers for short. Maersk Line, Limited is a U.S.-based division of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk Group. With headquarters in Norfolk, Va., it provides U.S.-flag transportation, ship management and maritime technical services to government and commercial customers. The two ships in the new service are currently sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and are preparing for their maiden voyages. They are scheduled to be re-flagged by Maersk in November.
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