General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has started construction of the fourth tanker ship ordered by American Petroleum Tankers (APT), following a steel-cutting ceremony at its shipyard in San Diego, US.

This new vessel is part of an order from APT for five 610ft-long and 50,000dwt product carriers.

Capable of carrying 330,000 barrels of cargo, these Eco-class, LNG-conversion-ready tankers have been designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of Busan, South Korea.

American Petroleum Tankers president Rob Kurz said: "We are very excited to be starting construction on our fourth tanker at General Dynamics Nassco.

"We look forward to taking delivery of another highly fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vessel that will provide first-class service to our customers."

Due to the new design, the vessels will offer better fuel-efficiency and be equipped with the latest environmental protection features such as a ballast water treatment system.

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"These Jones Act-qualified tankers are some of the most energy-efficient, fuel-saving and cost-effective tankers in the world."

Construction of the first vessel in this series, APT-1, started in September 2014. Nassco began building the third vessel in April this year.

General Dynamics Nassco vice-president and general manager Kevin Graney said: "These Jones Act-qualified tankers are some of the most energy-efficient, fuel-saving and cost-effective tankers in the world.

"They are also instrumental in providing high-quality, good-paying jobs."

This five-tanker contract enables Nassco to add 500 jobs to its existing 3,000 workforce, helping to sustain and grow the company’s local workforce.

Delivery of ships under this contract is expected to close in 2017, with the fifth tanker scheduled for receipt in the second quarter of that year.

Image: US Congresswoman Susan Davis starts construction of the fourth tanker for American Petroleum Tankers. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics.