The first of four new Crowley Maritime Corporation product tankers was celebrated today in a keel laying ceremony held at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. (APSI), the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA (Oslo: AKPS). The 330,000-barrel, Jones Act tankers are being built through a joint venture between Crowley and Aker.
Keeping with long-standing shipbuilding tradition, several ceremonial coins were placed by representatives from Crowley, APSI and others on one of the keel blocks before the unit was lowered into place in the dry dock.
Steinar Nerbovik, APSI’s managing director, remarked, “Rich in tradition, the keel laying ceremony is a proud milestone for the shipyard and an important step in the vessel’s construction. These U.S.-built vessels play an important role in our country’s energy independence while providing good jobs for the men and women who build and sail her.”
Crowley’s Seattle-based, naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary Jensen Maritime is providing construction management services for the product tankers. Jensen now has an on-site office and personnel at the Philadelphia shipyard to ensure strong working relationships with Aker staff and a seamless construction and delivery program.
“Adding these new Jones Act tankers to our fleet allows us to continue providing our customers with diverse and modern equipment to transport their petroleum and chemical products in a safe and reliable manner,” said Crowley’s Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager, petroleum and chemical transportation. “We are pleased with the progress being made on these vessels and with the good working relationships we have developed with Aker.”
The new 50,000 dwt product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design incorporating numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability, and the latest regulatory requirements. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future. When completed, the vessel will be 600 feet long and be capable of carrying crude oil or refined petroleum products. Delivery of the new tankers is expected in 2015 and 2016.
Crowley’s contract with APSI includes the option to build up to four more similar tankers.