Both General Dynamics NASSCO and Philly Shipyard recently laid the keels of future SIU-crewed Jones Act vessels, with NASSCO delivering a new product tanker that same week. Both shipyards are union facilities.
On Sept. 23, representatives from Philly Shipyard and Kinder Morgan, Inc. were in attendance to place the coins as a sign of good fortune and safe travels on one of the keel blocks of the third product tanker in a four-vessel order for American Petroleum Tankers (APT), a Kinder Morgan subsidiary. The most recent class of graduates from Philly Shipyard’s apprentice program were also in attendance, which added 15 skilled shipbuilders to the workforce. The shipyard expanded the program this year and has hired 50 apprentices, with intent to hire another 50 apprentices in 2017.
Philly Shipyard’s President and CEO Steinar Nerbovik remarked, “Today we celebrate our 15 new shipbuilders and the twenty-seventh keel laid in our 17-year history. Both will set the standard for shipbuilding activities well into our future. Congratulations to our graduates and to the men and women of Philly Shipyard for another milestone progressing toward our ongoing goal of being the premier U.S. commercial shipyard.”
When completed in 2017, the product tanker will be 600 feet long and capable of carrying 50,000 tons of crude oil or refined petroleum products. The Tier II 50,000 dead weight ton (dwt) product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements, Philly Shipyard reported. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future.
In San Diego, NASSCO held a keel laying for the Palmetto State, the final ECO Class tanker to begin construction for American Petroleum Tankers (it’s scheduled to be delivered in 2017). The keel was laid by Master Shipbuilder and NASSCO General Supervisor Bill Johnson, who welded his initials onto a steel plate in the vessel’s inner structure, in a ceremony conducted Sept. 26.
NASSCO Vice President and General Manager Kevin Graney said: “Bill Johnson has served NASSCO and our nation by dedicating his career to building ships that are critical to our economy and our defense. He is an expert at the craft of shipbuilding and serves as a leader and mentor for his fellow shipbuilders so that their careers can continue to build upon this legacy. Today’s keel laying is a celebration to give thanks to the many thousands of hardworking NASSCO men and women who have chosen shipbuilding as their profession – past and present.”
Additionally, on Sept. 27 NASSCO delivered a sister ship of the Palmetto State, the Bay State. That ship had been christened 10 days earlier.
“The Bay State is the product of world-leading design, engineering and construction,” said Graney. “We take pride in knowing we are delivering another high-quality vessel to our partner, American Petroleum Tankers.”
Each vessel in the ECO Class program is 610 feet long, 50,000 dwt, has a 330,000-barrel cargo capacity and is LNG-conversion-ready. Boasting outstanding fuel efficiency, the first five ships have already been delivered, while the remaining three are under construction.
According to NASSCO, the ships were designed by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of Busan, South Korea.