General Dynamics NASSCO earned a contract from an affiliate of American Petroleum Tankers for four transport ships to carry up to 330,000 barrels of liquid natural gas, for domestic (Jones Act) shipments. The value of the contract was not reported, but NASSCO noted it includes options for four additional ships.
The Jones Act is a federal regulation that requires that ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports to be built in U.S. shipyards.
The shipbuilders is a General Dynamics subsidiary, and the investor, APT is a Blackstone Group holding.
The 50,000-ton ships measure 610-foot long tankers. They will be built according to a new, fuel-efficient and environmentally sound design at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
The ships will represent a new "ECO" design that offers improved fuel efficiency and incorporates environmental protection features, including a ballast water treatment system. All of the ECO-class tankers will be built at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
NASSCO said the contract builds upon past projects it carried out for APT, including construction of five product carriers from 2007 to 2010. Construction of the first tanker is scheduled to begin in Q3 2014, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in Q4 2015. The remaining three ships of the initial order will be delivered on schedule through 2016.
According to NASSCO, the four-ship APT contract will add up to 800 jobs at its shipyard during construction, and over 165 crew members will be engaged to operate the ships.
The ships have been designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, a South Korean company. DSEC's ECO ships have a fuel-efficient, slow-speed main engine and an optimized hull form. Other design details include dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines and accommodation for future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system.
"By continuing to bring the most economical and environmentally sound technology to Jones Act operators, these ECO tankers show our continued commitment to be one of the most innovative shipyards in America,” according to General Dynamics NASSCO president Fred Harris.