Second $81-Million Gulf Oil Supertanker Christened At Bethlehem Sparrows Point

The American Independence, the second supertanker built by- Bethlehem Steel Corporation for Gulf Oil Corporation, was christened October 18, 1977, at the steel company's Sparrows Point Yard. Mrs. James E. Lee, wife of Gulf's president, christened the vessel which was constructed at a base contract cost of approximately $81.4 million.

The supertanker's sister ship, the American Spirit, which sailed from the yard on July 1, made Gulf the No. 1 U.S.-flag tanker fleet in the country.

The keel for the American Independence was laid January 28, 1976. According to Richard I.

Hoskins, Marine Operations vice president in Gulf Trading & Transportation Company, the supertanker was constructed in accordance with requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping, United States Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service, and the Federal Communications Commission.

The 1,100-foot tanker, when carrying 2,014,000 barrels of oil, representing 98 percent capacity, will travel at a speed of approximately 15 knots. She is one of Bethlehem's 265,000-deadweightton (dwt) class, the largest merchant vessels ever constructed in the United States.

The principal characteristics of the vessel include one complete deck with raised forecastle head, cylindrical bow, horn type rudder, straight transom stern and an after-superstructure.

"Equipped with the latest navigational, safety, communications and antipollution aids," Mr. Hoskins explained, "the Independence was designed to meet the requirements of the October 1971 resolution of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) regarding maximum size of cargo tanks." Clean discharge water will be assured through use of a slop tank system utilizing two of the cargo tanks and an oil/water separator.

Instrumentation to detect oil in the ballast water being pumped overboard will give an audible and visual alarm, with automatic immediate shutdown capability.

An inert gas system will furnish protection in the cargo tanks by providing a constant nonexplosive atmosphere within them, Mr. Hoskins said.

A c e n t r a l i z e d cargo control system provides for remote tank level indication and remote control of all hydraulically operated tank and pump room valves, as well as remote control of three 24,000-gallons-per-minute cargo oil pumps and two 1,200-gallonsper- minute stripping pumps. A cargo tank high-level alarm and automatic shutdown system is provided to protect against inadvertent overflow while loading.

A sewage treatment plant and large sewage holding tank will provide protection against water pollution when the vessel is in coastal waters or in port.

The breadth of the supertanker is 178 feet, and its depth is 86 feet. The summer deadweight is 262,376 long tons on a draft of 67 feet 1-13/16 inches. Loaded displacement is 305,317 tons.

Navigation equipment includes an echo depth sounding and recording system, a 10 CM radar, a 3.2 CM radar, and a collision avoidance system capable of operating with either radar. A radio direction finder, a Loran receiver and a satellite navigation receiver are also furnished, as well as the latest computer type Omega system.

Communication equipment on the Independence consists of the main and emergency telegraph console and is installed in the vessel's radio room. The supertanker also has a YHF radiotelephone and a single sideband radio transceiver system with operating capabilities from the pilothouse.

A VHF transceiver system for communication with the terminal during cargo-handling operation is installed in the cargo control room.

Clean ballast water capacity on the Independence in four tanks is more than 32,000 tons, and the vessel's 11,950-ton fuel capacity provides a cruising range of 20,000 miles.

Following the christening, Donald T. Burkhardt, general manager of the yard, was the host at a luncheon in honor of the sponsor, Mrs. Lee.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 7,  Nov 15, 1977

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