San Diego shipyard General Dynamics NASSCO has entered into a contract with Seabulk Tankers, a wholly owned subsidiary of SEACOR (NYSE: CKH), for the design and construction of two LNG-ready product tankers to operate in the Jones Act market.
The two 50,000 dwt LNG-conversion-ready MR tankers will each have a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity. Construction of the first tanker is scheduled to begin in late 2014 at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego, with deliveries scheduled for the second quarter of 2016 and first quarter of 2017.
These new 610-foot-long tankers are a continuation of the ECO tanker design, offering improved fuel efficiency and environmental protection features including a Ballast Water Treatment System, NASSCO says.
With this order, NASSCO is now under contract for the design and construction of six ECO MR tankers. In May, NASSCO was contracted by an affiliate of American Petroleum Tankers (APT) to build four vessels of the same design.
The ships will be designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). DSEC’s ECO design includes a G-series MAN ME slow-speed main engine and an optimized hull form for improved fuel efficiency. The tankers will have conversion capable dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines and the ability to accommodate the future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system and Type C LNG tanks. This contract will be the fourth commercial collaboration between NASSCO and DSEC.
The construction and operation of the new vessels meet Jones Act requirements that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports be built in U.S. shipyards.
Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said, “This contract is an indication that NASSCO remains fully committed to continuing to bring the most economical and environmentally sound technology to Jones Act owners and operators. We are very pleased to begin a new partnership with SEACOR and look forward to delivering two high-quality vessels that will serve SEACOR in the Jones Act tanker market for decades.”
Charles Fabrikant, executive chairman of SEACOR Holdings, said, “Our decision to build these two new tankers is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the Jones Act. We are very excited that we will be able to offer this new ECO friendly design to charterers.”
In addition to the six MR product tankers mentioned here, NASSCO has worked with DSEC on the design and construction of two (up to five) 3,100 TEU LNG-powered containerships for TOTE. The 764-foot-long ships will be the first-ever containerships and the largest ships to be primarily powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).