New tonnage continues to enter the SIU-contracted Jones Act fleet, including the recently christened tankers Bay State and Constitution.
Both vessels were built at General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, a union facility. The Bay State was christened Sept. 17, while the Constitution was christened Aug. 27. SIU Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone attended both ceremonies; he was joined by SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker at the August event.
The Bay State is operated by Crowley subsidiary Intrepid Personnel and Provisioning, while the Constitution is operated by Seabulk Tankers.
“These additions signal ongoing job security for SIU members, and they are further proof that the Jones Act remains vital to the American economy,” said Tricker.
Both of the new builds are part of the ECO Class of ships. The Bay State was built for American Petroleum Tankers, and the Constitution was constructed for SEA-Vista, a partnership between SEACOR Holdings Inc. and Avista Capital Partners. The ships in this class are 50,000 deadweight tons, 610 feet long, and have 330,000-barrel cargo capacity. They can be converted to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG).
According to the shipyard, the design provides “a very significant improvement in fuel efficiency.” U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-California) spoke at the Bay State ceremony, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Melissa DeVeau, christened the tanker with the traditional break of a champagne bottle. Vargas strongly spoke in support of the Jones Act, America’s freight cabotage law.
Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager for General Dynamics NASSCO, added, “The christening of a ship is to wish good fortune to those sailing in her and to celebrate the thousands of hard-working men and women who constructed the ship. Even more, we celebrate the significance of the Bay State and her sister ships in the ECO Class program.”
Rob Kurz, vice president of Kinder Morgan Terminals and president of American Petroleum Tankers, a Kinder Morgan, Inc. subsidiary, stated, “After another great christening ceremony, we now look forward to soon taking delivery of the Bay State, our fourth NASSCO-built, ECO Class tanker. This state-of-the-art vessel will be another welcome addition to our growing fleet – one that will provide safe and reliable transportation for our customers in the decades ahead. We applaud our partners at NASSCO for making this day possible.” He also praised the Jones Act for its numerous benefits to the country.
Meanwhile, as part of the ceremony for the Constitution, the ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Cristin Thorogood – wife of Dan Thorogood, SEACOR Ocean Transport president – christened the tanker with champagne bottle break over the hull. Mrs. Sandi Dunkel, a NASSCO employee for nearly 25 years, pulled the trigger to release the ship into San Diego Bay.
“The construction of a ship represents an entire community of highly trained and highly skilled individuals working together – from design conception to delivery – toward a common purpose: to revolutionize the future of American shipping with the construction of innovative, cost-saving, and environmentally sound vessels,” said Graney. “The christening and launch of a ship represents the hard-earned efforts of this community. It’s the first time a ship enters the water – and it’s another milestone toward the delivery of a quality product that will service our nation’s maritime needs for decades to come.”
The Jones Act helps sustain nearly 500,000 U.S. jobs while contributing nearly $100 billion in annual economic impact. The law requires that cargo moving between domestic ports be carried on ships that crewed, built, flagged and owned American.
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