NASSCO gets biggest contract ever from U.S. Shipping Partners
General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, said Monday it has finalized a $1 billion contract with U.S. Shipping Partners to build nine product carrier tankers, with options for five additional ships.
Construction of the first tanker is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2007, with delivery set for the second quarter of 2009.
“NASSCO is the leading builder of U.S. Navy auxiliary ships and has delivered more Jones Act ships than any other shipyard in the country today,” Frederick J. Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO, said in a statement. “This contract is the largest commercial shipbuilding contract in NASSCO’s history and positions this shipyard to remain the premier builder of Jones Act ships.”
The product carrier tankers, or “PCs,” will be 183 meters (600.4 feet) long and 32.2 meters (105.6 feet) in beam, with a design draft of 11.8 meters (38.7 feet). The ships are to be double-hulled, weighing 49,000 dead weight tons (DWT) and will have a cargo capacity of 331,000 barrels.
“USS is committed to building and operating the largest, most technologically advanced deep water fleet in the United States,” said Paul Gridley, chairman and chief executive officer of U.S. Shipping Partners, in a statement. “These new ships will allow us to add the needed new capacity that the domestic energy market is demanding.”
USS operates a fleet of 10 deep sea vessels that carry refined petroleum and chemical products among customer facilities along the U.S. coast and has five double-hulled, articulated tug barges on order or under construction. The majority of the USS fleet is on long-term time charters or contracts with major oil and chemical companies based in the United States.
Financing for the transaction is being provided by a joint venture among affiliates of the Blackstone Group, USS Product Carriers (a wholly owned subsidiary of USS) and other investors.
The PC tankers are based on an existing design from DSEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of Seoul, Korea. NASSCO entered into an agreement with DSEC last March to produce ships for the U.S. market under the Jones Act, in which DSEC will provide detail designs and services related to construction of the ships. All of the ships will be constructed at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.
The PCs are the second class of tankers NASSCO has been contracted to produce since 2000. NASSCO is scheduled to deliver its final double-hulled tanker to BP Shipping Co. of Alaska on Aug. 18, under a four-ship contract.