The domestic fleet of SIU-contracted ships got a boost before the New Year with the christening of a tanker on the West Coast.
On Dec. 17, union shipyard General Dynamics NASSCO christened the Liberty, the third ECO Class tanker under contract with SEA-Vista LLC (following the Independence and the Constitution). SEA-Vista is a partnership between SEACOR Holdings Inc. and Avista Capital Partners.
SIU Port Agent Jeff Turkus and Recertified Bosun Carlos Loureiro were in attendance in San Diego at the ceremony. SIU mariners will crew the Liberty when the vessel enters service.
Mrs. Debora Denning, wife of SEACOR Vice President Tom Denning, christened the ship with the traditional break of a champagne bottle on the side of the hull.
Designed for improved fuel efficiency, the 610-footlong, 50,000 deadweight ton, LNG-conversion-ready ECO Class tanker symbolizes the emerging direction of the shipping industry in the U.S. toward cleaner modes of transporting product, according to NASSCO. The ship’s advanced design achieves 33 percent increased fuel efficiency through several features.
As part of an eight-tanker program for two separate SIU-contracted customers, American Petroleum Tankers and SEA-Vista LLC, the construction and operation of the new ECO Class tankers are aligned with the Jones Act. The Jones Act mandates that cargo moving between U.S. ports must be carried on vessels that are flagged, built, crewed and owned American. The Jones Act is responsible for more than 500,000 good-paying jobs countrywide and is considered a key element in the nation’s defense capabilities.
In 2016, NASSCO shipbuilders processed more than 60,000 tons of steel and delivered six vessels.
“NASSCO is the only major shipyard on the West Coast of the United States conducting design, new construction and repair of commercial and U.S. Navy ships,” the yard reported. “In the past decade, NASSCO delivered 30 oceangoing ships to government and commercial customers—including the world’s first LNG-powered containerships.”