General Dynamics (GD) Nassco has laid keel for the first ECO tanker currently being built for Sea-Vista, during a ceremony at its shipyard in San Diego, California.

Under a contract with Sea-Vista, a joint venture between Seacor and Avista Capital Partners, GD is building three 50,000dwt liquefied natural gas (LNG) conversion-ready product carriers with a cargo capacity of 330,000 barrels.

Construction and operation of the new vessels is in-line with the Jones Act, which requires that ships carrying cargo between US ports be built in the local shipyards.

General Dynamics Nassco commercial programmes director Parker Larson said: "This is another great milestone for the Seacor ships.

"ECO-class tankers feature state-of-the-art design technologies and achieve world-leading fuel efficiencies."

"These Jones Act ECO-class tankers feature state-of-the-art design technologies and achieve world-leading fuel efficiencies."

Designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of South Korea-based Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the 610ft-long carriers are a continuation of the ECO MR tanker design, which offers improved fuel-efficiency and incorporates the latest environmental protection features, such as a ballast water treatment system and lower emissions.

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Other features include a G-series Man Me, slow-speed main engine and a hull designed to optimise fuel usage.

In addition, the tankers will have dual-fuel-capable auxiliary engines and the ability to accommodate future installation of an LNG fuel-gas system.

According to GD, the vessels will provide a better service to Sea-Vista’s customers by meeting Jones Act transportation requirements for the movement of current and projected crude oil and refined products volumes in the US.