American Petroleum Tankers is investing $750 million in the fleet, which will be used to carry oil or liquified natural gas between U.S. ports. The first ship will be completed in 14 months.
After pushing a button to start a massive robot arm with a plasma cutter, Faulconer signed the official paperwork, then spoke at a brief ceremony in the shipyard.
He praised NASSCO as an “economic engine” that provides high-quality jobs and noted that the company is hiring. “This five-ship contract will provide 800 quality jobs,” he said.
NASSCO officials described the 610-foot ship as the most fuel-efficient tanker of its kind.
“When delivered, this ship will be the most efficient taker in the Jones Act fleet,” said Kevin Graney, general manager and vice president of NASSCO, referring to ships built to carry cargoes between U.S. ports.
The new fleet of tankers comes at a time when U.S. production of oil and natural gas is surging due to the new technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
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