Anyone doubting the capabilities of U.S. shipbuilders hasn’t paid attention to General Dynamics NASSCO lately. The San Diego shipyard – a union facility – recently hosted christenings for two state-ofthe- art, SIU-contracted, Jones Act tankers: the Garden State and the Magnolia State, respectively.
The vessels are part of a five-ship order for American Petroleum Tankers. They will be operated by SIU-contracted Intrepid Personnel and Provisioning, a Crowley subsidiary. Each of the tankers is 610 feet long, with a 330,000-barrel cargo capacity. They’re being built to allow for conversion to LNG power.
SIU Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone represented the union at the Garden State ceremony, which took place May 7.
“This new tonnage is great news for our union and great news for the U.S. maritime industry as a whole,” Marrone noted. “We welcome the new jobs, and on top of that, the additions to the Jones Act fleet are vital for American’s national and economic security.”
“The launch of the Garden State symbolizes and celebrates the culmination of thousands of hours of hard labor put forth by the men and women of General Dynamics NASSCO,” said Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO and Bath Iron Works (and himself a former union mariner). “NASSCO is proud to be building yet another quality product tanker for longtime partners American Petroleum Tankers and Kinder Morgan.”
“We are excited to see our third ECO Class tanker, the Garden State, launched and christened,” said Rob Kurz, vice president of Kinder Morgan Terminals and president of American Petroleum Tankers, a Kinder Morgan, Inc. subsidiary. “This marks another milestone in the construction process of our five-ship program with NASSCO. We thank everyone at NASSCO for their continued support and look forward to adding this impressive vessel to the APT – Kinder Morgan fleet this coming August.”
Ship sponsor Mrs. Yvette Romasko christened the vessel with the traditional break of a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull. The Honorable Greg Cox, from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, served as the keynote speaker. Previously, Cox ceremonially laid the keel for the ship.
Just two weeks earlier, on April 23, SIU Port Agent Jeff Turkus was on hand as the shipyard christened the sister ship Magnolia State. U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-California) spoke at the ceremony, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Trang Cormack, christened the vessel.
According to NASSCO, the tankers in this order “are equipped with a new ECO design which will provide a very significant improvement in fuel efficiency.”
“San Diego’s shipbuilding industry currently supports as many as 14,000 local jobs,” said Peters. “Part of this is due to the Navy’s rebalance to the Pacific, but it’s also due to significant private contracts such as this one. The Magnolia State created good jobs for San Diegans and will provide a safe, more efficient, and cleaner way to transport fuel across the ocean. It was an honor to be present at the start of is construction, and it’s an honor to see her off.”
The ships were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of Busan, South Korea. The design incorporates improved fuel efficiency concepts through several features. The tankers will have dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines and the ability to accommodate future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system.
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