The LNG Aquarius Is The First Of Twelve LNG Tankers Being Built By General Dynamics

The largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker ever built in the U.S. was named on May 27, during ceremonies at General Dynamics Quincy shipyard in Massachusetts.

Mrs. David S. Lewis, wife of the chairman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics, officially named the supertanker LNG Aquarius, before a crowd of several thousand invited guests and shipyard workers and their families gathered at the yard.

The 936-foot-long, 95,000-ton vessel is the first of 12 being built by General Dynamics.

Five of the 12 ships will be used to transport LNG from Algeria to the U.S. East and Gulf Coast ports, while the other seven will carry gas from Indonesia to Japan.

All the ships will operate under American registry and will be manned by American crews.

The LNG Aquarius has been delivered and will enter initial service on the Indonesia to Japan route later this year under long-term charter to a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company.

The naming ceremony culminated more than three years of construction effort on the LNG Aquarius, one of the most technologically advanced merchant ships ever built.

The tanker will carry 125,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas on each trip, enough gas to serve an American city of 500,000 for a month. The gas will be carried in five 120-foot-diameter spherical aluminum cargo tanks at a temperature of minus 265 degrees Fahrenheit. The 2-inch-thick walls of the tanks are covered with 9 inches of polyurethane insulation to help maintain the very low temperature and prevent boil-off of the gas. The liquefaction process reduces the volume of the gas some 600 times.

The 850-ton spherical tanks are produced at General Dynamics Charleston, S.C., fabrication facility and transported to Quincy by barge, where they are installed in the tankers by the shipyard's 1,200-ton-capacity Goliath crane, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

The highly sophisticated LNG Aquarius will carry a crew of 30, will have a top speed in excess of 20 knots, and can load and discharge its cargo in 12 hours.

Quincy has the capacity to build four of the LNG tankers yearly.

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