Construction on the two Jones Act vessels officially began in the shipyard's fabrication shop when guest of honor Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack pushed the button on the shipyard's plasma cutting machine. The first steel plates that were cut will later become part of the engine room.
At the ceremony, the shipbuilder's President and CEOI, Steinar Nerbovik, said: "With construction underway on these two product tankers, we celebrate the capstone of an exciting eight tanker series that is part of Philadelphia's contribution to the energy landscape of this country. The 1,100 men and women working at the shipyard will be busy for years to come completing these tankers and the other vessels we have under contract."
"We are very pleased to be working with the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard on the construction of four, LNG-conversion-ready tankers, and the start of construction of these two vessels marks a milestone for our expanding fleet," said Robert Kurz, Vice President of Kinder Morgan Terminals and President of APT. "There continues to be a strong demand for domestic marine transportation of petroleum products and crude oil, and these tankers will provide Kinder Morgan with additional new tonnage to better service our customers."
The next generation 50,000 dwt product tanker is based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design that incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability, and the latest regulatory requirements. When completed, each of the 600-foot tankers will have a carrying capacity of 14.5 million gallons to transport crude oil or refined products.
Also under construction at the shipyard are three 50,000 dwt product tankers for Crowley with planned deliveries through 2016, the first two 50,000 dwt tankers for APT with planned deliveries in 2016 and 2017, and two containerships for Matson Navigation Company, Inc. with planned deliveries in 2018.