General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has launched and christened the first ECO-class tankers for the SEA-Vista at its shipyard in San Diego, US.

The 610ft-long Independence is the first of the three product carriers being built for SEA-Vista and is a 50,000dwt liquefied natural gas (LNG)-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity.

The vessel designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of Busan, South Korea, will feature a G-series Man Me slow-speed main engine and an optimised hull form to provide greater fuel efficiency for the vessel.

"When delivered, these tankers will be among the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly tankers anywhere in the world."

The vessel will offer enhanced fuel efficiency and also features the latest environmental protection features, including a ballast water treatment system and reduced emissions.

The vessel’s engine will be capable of conversion and accommodating future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system and tanks.

General Dynamics Nassco vice-president and general manager Kevin Graney said: "When delivered, these ECO-class, Jones Act-qualified tankers will be among the most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly tankers anywhere in the world."

Upon delivery, the ship will be operated by Seabulk Tankers.

Seabulk Tankers president and chief operating officer Daniel J. Thorogood said: "We are pleased to complete this important milestone for the first in a series of three fuel-efficient, ECO Jones Act product tankers that will be delivering into the SEA-Vista fleet and operated by Seabulk Tankers."

Nassco is also constructing five similar 610ft-long and 50,000dwt product carriers for American Petroleum Tankers at its shipyard in San Diego.