BAE Systems Mobile shipyard launches Jones Act tanker

amphoenixBAE Systems has joined with Mid Ocean Tanker Company (MOTC) to launch the American Phoenix, a U.S. Flag/Jones Act-qualified product chemical tanker, from its Mobile, Alabama, shipyard . Measuring 616 feet long and 105 feet wide, it is largest vessel ever launched from the State of Alabama. It has a draft of 36 feet and a cargo capacity of 49,000 dwt.

Mid Ocean Tanker acquired the unfinished ship for $12.65 million in February of this year in the bankruptcy proceedings that followed the AHL Shipping collapse. It intends to complete it for service in U.S. coastwise trade by late 2011 or early 2012.

The launch is a significant step toward the completion of the American Phoenix, which is owned by MOTC, a joint venture between Mid Ocean Marine and private equity firm Alterna Capital Partners.

BAE Systems was contracted in April to finish the ship’s construction and prepare it for use (see earlier story).

“This is a major event for shipbuilding in the Mobile area,” said Vic Rhoades, director and general manager of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama. “In total, the construction of this vessel has created more than 150 full-time jobs.”

The American Phoenix is now about 85 percent complete. When delivered early next year, it will sail to its homeport in Texas and conduct trade in the Gulf of Mexico. The remaining work on the ship, also to be performed by BAE Systems, includes the installation of the pilot house, equipment start ups and systems integration.

The Mobile shipyard has completed more than $14 million in repairs, refurbishments and capital improvements during 2011 to accommodate new construction and exisiting business. Facility and infrastructure improvements include the installation of a new launch rail system. Future ship construction projects at the shipyard are anticipated to create an additional 150 jobs over the next six months.

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