General Dynamics
San Diego, CA

In March, 2003, in San Diego, National Steel & Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), a subsidiary of General Dynamics, delivered the Midnight Sun to Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE). The Midnight Sun was the first commercial dry cargo vessel to be built in the United States since the early-'90s and the first of two new Orca-class trailerships being built by NASSCO for TOTE's service from Tacoma, Washington, to Anchorage, Alaska.

Midnight Sun
marquetry sculpture
Total area:
31 x 258 x 4 in.
Marquetry - Tunberg - General Dynamics - Midnight Sun - Panels 1 & 2
Tunberg was commissioned to create marquetry sculptures for both the Midnight Sun and her sister ship, the North Star. Each sculpture was to be 21feet in length and lined the pathway from the VIP quarters to the bridge. It was necessary to develop a special mounting system to attach the delicate wood surface of the sculpture to the unforgiving steel of the ship. It was also necessary to develop a revolutionary wood finish that could withstand the rigors of an ocean voyage, especially the large fluctuations in temperature and barometric pressure. All material used in the fabrication of the both sculptures had to meet Maritime fire codes and regulations.

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The Midnight Sun and theNorth Star are 840-foot-long, 118-foot-wide cargo ships that have received several prestigious awards for their environmentally sensitive features. These awards include the States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force Legacy Award for 2000, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner's 2000 Pollution Prevention Award, and the U.S. Coast Guard's William M. Benkert Foundation 2002 Environmental Excellence Bronze Award.
William Tunberg