NASSCO Launches First LNG-Ready Tanker for SEA-Vista

The ECO-class ship Independence is launched into San Diego Bay at NASSCO shipyard, December 12, 2015. Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO
The ECO-class ship Independence is launched into San Diego Bay at NASSCO shipyard, December 12, 2015. Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO

General Dynamics NASSCO on Saturday launched the first ship in a series of ECO-Class tankers for the SEA-Vista fleet.

The christening and launch ceremony took place at the company’s shipyard in San Diego.

The ship, the Independence, is a 610-foot, 50,000 deadweight-ton, and LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity. Construction on the ship began in November 2014.

Prior to launch, the Independence was christened by the its sponsor, Mrs. Allison Moran, CEO of RaceTrac Petroleum, who broke the traditional champagne bottle over the ship’s hull. Mrs. Jayne Rathburn, former CEO/owner of US Joiner, then pulled the trigger to release the ship into the San Diego Bay.

“General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilders are revolutionizing the future of American shipping with the concept and construction of innovative, cost-saving, and environmentally-sound vessels,” said Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager for General Dynamics NASSCO. “When delivered, these ECO Class, Jones Act-qualified tankers will be among the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly tankers anywhere in the world.”

The ECO-class will consist of three tankers total, each constructed at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego under Jones Act requirements. The vessels are being built for SEA-Vista, a partnership between SEACOR Holdings Inc. and Avista Capital Partners, and will be operated by Seabulk Tankers, Inc.

“We are pleased to complete this important milestone for the first in a series of three fuel-efficient, ECO Jones Act product tankers that will be delivering into the SEA-Vista fleet and operated by Seabulk Tankers, Inc,” said Daniel J. Thorogood, president and chief operating officer for Seabulk Tankers, Inc.

In the past decade, NASSCO delivered 13 commercial ships and currently has eight commercial ships in its backlog – with an additional ship, an Expeditionary Mobile Base, for the U.S. Navy under construction.

For its commercial work, NASSCO partners with South Korean shipbuilding power, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), for access to its ship design and shipbuilding technologies.

A video of the Independence launch can be seen below: