The former ro-ro that Jeff Bezos’ space business Blue Origin bought four years ago left the Port of Pensacola on 14th August, her last trip. She nevertheless departed the harbor on the end of a towline headed for the scrapyards in Brownsville, Texas, as opposed to the big idea of turning the former Stena vessel into an autonomous Landing Platform Vessel.
In August 2018, Bezos purchased the 10,000 dwt ro/ro cargo ship known as Stena Freighter. The Port of Pensacola states that they were contacted for up to a year about the ship docking at the port three years ago.
The plans called for the vessel to undergo repairs and maintenance in the port and the initial phase of the change process. Blue Origin had planned to relocate the vessel to a new area to finish the task.
Many observers have noted that apart from a prominent celebration of the christening, very little construction was carried out on the ship. The vessel’s name was changed during her stay in port as”the Jacklynin in December of 2020 to honor Bezos’s mother. Externally, the stern ramp has been removed, and several other changes were made according to the port, which claims teams of up to 100 were employed on the vessel. In the Port of Pensacola says extensive advancements were made in the transformation.
Blue Origin planned to convert the vessel with an addition to the ship of a massive platform that would allow it to land the orbital launcher New Glenn on its return to earth following its launch. The ship was supposed to have been fully autonomous and be able to perform operations in water as deep as 20 feet to support the return and recovery missions of the first-stage rockets. The platform was not added, and, in the spring of this season, Blue Origin confirmed that plans for the vessel were put on hold without giving a reason.
The vessel, at 600 feet, began construction in 1997; however, due to issues with the shipyard, it did not start service until 2004. Stena initially set up the vessel in the British Ministry of Defense, but that was not the case during construction delays. The Scandinavian ferry company ran it for 14 years, operating on various routes, mostly in the North Sea or Baltic, before the sale to Blue Origin.