By Mark Edward Nero
On May 26, San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony for the Liberty, which is the second of three ECO Class tankers due under a construction contract with Florida-based vessel operator SEA-Vista LLC.
The Liberty is a 610-foot, 50,000 deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000-barrel cargo capacity. During the ceremony, three representatives of SEA-Vista – Tom Denning, Ed Hoffman, and Tom Sofyanos – all welded their initials into the keel of the ship.
SEA-Vista is a partnership between SEACOR Holdings and Avista Capital Partners. Once delivered, the tanker will be operated by Florida-based Seabulk Tankers.
The new ECO Class design symbolizes the emerging direction of the shipping industry in the US toward cleaner, more fuel-efficient modes of transporting product.
The construction and operation of the new ECO Class tankers are aligned with the Jones Act, requiring that ships carrying cargo between US ports be built in US shipyards. Construction on the Liberty began in October 2015. In April, NASSCO delivered the first of the three SEA-Vista vessels, Independence, which like the Liberty, is a 610-foot, 50,000-deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330,000-barrel capacity. Construction of the vessel began in November 2014.