JANUARY 30, 2014 — BAE Systems today launched the first of four platform supply vessels it is building for Jackson Offshore Operators, LLC.
The launch ceremony at BAE Systems' Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, FL, shipyard included representatives from both companies.
Lee Jackson, chairman and chief executive officer of Jackson Offshore Operators, initiated the launch and the vessel moved swiftly and safely into the St. John's River.
"This is a great day for our company," said Mr. Jackson. "It is exactly what we envisioned when we selected BAE Systems for this project. They are excellent partners, share the same values and principles, such as safety, and they are committed to providing high quality vessels that meet our stringent requirements as well as those of our customers."
The M/V Breeze will remain at BAE Systems' shipyard to complete construction prior to delivery in May. The second ship, Hull 256, will be delivered in September. Two additional vessels are under contract and will be completed in 2015.
"This is a significant milestone not only for this project but for our commercial shipbuilding operation," said Tom Young, director of BAE Systems' Jacksonville shipyard. "We have a strong and talented team of dedicated employees who demonstrate their commitment to our customers each day. We also value our partnership with Jackson Offshore and appreciate their confidence in our ability and our team."
Each of the 252 ft x 60 ft Jackson Offshore Operators vessels will be Jones Act qualified and will support Jackson Offshore Operator's expanding business base in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Jackson Offshore contract is part of a continued effort by BAE Systems to increase new construction shipbuilding workload at its facilities in Jacksonville and Mobile, Alabama. The company is currently building two platform supply vessels in Mobile and is under contract to build a subsea support vessel for offshore drilling operations.
BAE Systems currently employs approximately 500 people in Jacksonville and expects to hire an additional 100 workers this year.