Aker Philadelphia Shipyard held a ceremonial keel laying for the eleventh vessel being built at the yard. The Veteran Class MT-46 product tanker is the seventh in a series of 12 tankers being constructed for American Shipping Company, who in turn will bareboat charter the vessel to OSG America for final operation in service with Tesoro Corporation. Following long held shipbuilding tradition, coins were placed on one of the keel blocks that supports the vessel during construction before the first section of the ship was lowered into place. These coins are a ceremonial sign of good fortune and safe travels. The ceremony was conducted with representatives of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, American Shipping Company, and OSG America. On behalf of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Alex Biddy, Joshua Byrne and John Gallagher, three apprentices who will soon graduate from the yard's first apprentice class, placed the coins.
Initiated in 2004, the four year Apprenticeship Program
is designed to develop the next generation of shipyard leaders. Since its inception, the program has developed into 11 classes with a total of 89 apprentices. Recruiting for the next class has already begun and applications will be accepted from September 15, 2008 through October 15, 2008, with approved candidates beginning in January 2009.