The US Navy has christened the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO 205), a replenishment oiler and the lead ship of its class in a ceremony in San Diego.

The christening ceremony was attended by House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who served as the principal speaker at the ceremony. The event was attended by naval officials and the ship’s sponsor, Alfre Woodard Spencer.

The US Navy’s John Lewis-class fleet oiler programme involves building six 742ft-long replenishment oilers with a full load displacement of 49,850t.

In 2016, General Dynamics NASSCO secured a contract for the detailed design and construction of the vessels. The construction of the lead vessel started in 2018.

The oilers will be capable of carrying 157,000 barrels of oil or dry cargo at a maximum speed of 20kt.

The vessels will primarily serve US Navy carrier strike group ships transferring fuel to those operating at sea.

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All vessels in its class will be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights.

General Dynamics NASSCO president Dave Carver said: “The christening ceremony today takes on a very special meaning, for it marks the one-year anniversary, to the day, of John Lewis’ passing.

“Just as its namesake, this majestic vessel will be instrumental in shaping the future of our nation. The shipbuilders of NASSCO are proud to ensure Congressman John Lewis’ legacy will live on in this ship.”

Three other John Lewis-class ships, namely the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the future USNS Earl Warren (T-AO 207), and the future USNS Robert F Kennedy (T-AO 208), are currently under construction.

USNS Harvey Milk is expected to be launched later this year.