The first in a new fleet of three environmentally friendly tankers under construction at General Dynamics NASSCO was launched Saturday morning.
The 610-foot Independence slid into the waters of San Diego Bay at 8 a.m. from the shipyard in Barrio Logan in a ceremony open to the public..
The vessel can carry 330,000 barrels of oil or other petroleum products and can be converted to run on clean liquefied natural gas. Construction started a little over one year ago.
Allison Moran, CEO of RaceTrac Petroleum, christened the ship with the traditional breaking of a champagne bottle against the hull.
Last week, NASSCO delivered a similar vessel, the Lone Star State, to American Petroleum Tankers, which has ordered five. The shipyard, the largest on the West Coast, currently has eight commercial ships and one Naval vessel under construction or on order.
“General Dynamics NASSCO shipbuilders are revolutionizing the future of American shipping with the concept and construction of innovative, cost-saving, and environmentally-sound vessels,” said Kevin Graney, vice president and general manager of the shipyard.
“When delivered, these ECO Class, Jones Act-qualified tankers will be among the most fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly tankers anywhere in the world,” Graney said.
The Jones Act requires ships operating between American ports to be build in the United States and be operated by American crews to ensure a healthy industrial base for Navy shipbuilding.
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