National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
(NASSCO) delivered the Alaskan Frontier, the first of four Alaska-class double-hull oil tankers being built for BP Oil Shipping Company
, USA. Touted as state-of-the-art ships and environmentally friendly — backed by an innovative diesel-electric propulsion system, with redundant engines, shafts and screws, significantly increases reliability and reduces air emissions and maintenance downtime — the ship has been designed for a life of 35 years with a deck structure designed for a life of 50 years.
The ship uses seawater instead of oil to cool and lubricate their propeller shafts, thus eliminating the possibility of accidental oil leaks. Their cargo piping, normally installed on the deck, is inside the cargo tanks, to reduce the risk of small spills. "NASSCO was acquired by General Dynamics in 1998 and they have invested more than $120 million since then to improve our shipbuilding technologies and production efficiencies," said Richard Vortmann, NASSCO president. "BP is the first customer to fully benefit from this investment." These double-hull ships measure 941 x 164 ft. (287 x 50 m) and boast a capacity of 1.3 million barrels of oil. The design of the tankers in the Alaska Class allows maximum flexibility for oil deliveries from Alaska to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles, Calif., and Cherry Point, Wash. The four ships are scheduled to be delivered between now and the end of 2006. Once completed, the four BP ships will be operated by the Alaska Tanker
Company of Beaverton, Oregon, which operates BP-chartered tankers used in the Alaska North Slope trade. Alaska Tanker Company is 25 percent owned by BP.