General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has launched the first ECO tanker for American Petroleum Tankers (APT), a Kinder Morgan subsidiary, at its shipyard in San Diego.

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-classes, LNG-conversion-ready tankers have been designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering of Busan, South Korea.

The LNG-conversion-ready product carrier, Lone Star State offers better fuel-efficiency and is equipped with the latest environmental protection features such as a ballast water treatment system.

The tanker is equipped with G-series MAN ME slow-speed main engine, an optimised hull form and dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines for improved fuel efficiency.

Additionally, the tanker will be capable of accommodating installation of an LNG fuel-gas system in future.

General Dynamics Nassco general manager and vice-president Kevin Graney said: "Incorporating new and innovative green ship technology, these tankers are the future of American petroleum shipping.

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

American Petroleum Tankers president Robert Kurz said: "This christening ceremony is an important step forward for Kinder Morgan’s expanding fleet of Jones Act product tankers and demonstrates the strong demand for domestic waterborne transportation to move petroleum products and crude oil."

"We look forward to taking delivery of this vessel next month and, along with our seven other operating tankers, providing first-class service to our growing customer base."

"Incorporating new and innovative green ship technology, these tankers are the future of American petroleum shipping."

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

Both the construction as well as the operation of new tankers is in line with the Jones Act that requires the ships carrying cargo between US ports to be built in US shipyards.

This five-tanker contract will allow Nassco to add 500 jobs to its existing 3,000 workforce, helping 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: GPA’s terminals in Brunswick handled about to 3.5 million tonnes of cargo this year. Photo: courtesy of Georgia Ports Authority.