San Diego based shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO delivered three lead ships in 2015: USNS Lewis B. Puller, the Isla Bella and the Lone Star State. Each vessel represents three new and separate ship classes and highlights the builder’s diverse portfolio of commercial and government contracts, the company said.
In June, NASSCO delivered the USNS Lewis B. Puller to the U.S. Navy, the first ship in the Expeditionary Base Mobile (ESB) class. Previously classified as a Mobile Landing Platform Afloat Forward Staging Base (MLP AFSB), the added capabilities to the 784-foot long ship include a 52,000 square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, mission planning spaces and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting multiple missions including Air Mine Counter Measures, counterpiracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response. In addition, the ship is designed to support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters and will be upgraded to support MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft. In October, NASSCO shipbuilders began construction on a second ESB, and in December 2015, the U.S. Congress approved $635 million in funding for a third ESB.
In October, NASSCO delivered the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered containership, the Isla Bella, to TOTE nearly two months ahead of schedule. As part of a two-ship contract signed in December 2012 with TOTE, the 764-foot long Marlin Class containerships are the largest dry cargo ships powered by LNG, making them the cleanest cargo-carrying ships anywhere in the world. Newly developed and groundbreaking technology used in the design and build of the containerships dramatically decrease emissions and increase fuel efficiency when compared to conventionally-powered ships – or the equivalent of removing nearly 16,000 automobiles from the road. The Isla Bella’s sister ship, the Perla Del Caribe, is currently under its final stages of construction at the NASSCO shipyard and is scheduled to be delivered to TOTE during the first quarter of 2016.
Most recently, NASSCO delivered the first ECO Class tanker, the Lone Star State, to American Petroleum Tankers (APT). The new ECO Class tanker is the first of a five-tanker contract between NASSCO and APT, which calls for the design and construction of five 50,000 deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tankers with a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity. The 610-foot-long tankers were built with a new “ECO” design, offering significantly improved fuel efficiency and the latest environmental protection features. The tankers are 33 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous five tankers built by NASSCO for APT between 2007 and 2010.
“The delivery of these three lead ships, the USNS Lewis B. Puller, the Isla Bella, and the Lone Star State, demonstrates NASSCO’s strength in designing, building and delivering a diverse portfolio of world-leading vessels for both government and commercial customers,” said Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. “The ships we build are affordable, tough and help fuel America’s economy and strengthen national security.”