National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) held a keel-laying ceremony for Hull 487, the fourth ship of the Alaska Class double-hull oil tankers being constructed for BP Oil Shipping Company, USA. BP’s Site Team Member John Penso welded his initials into the keel to signify the start of structural erection.
"These double-hull tankers are providing BP with the best available propulsion, ship, and environmental control technologies to protect US waters," said Richard Vortmann, president of NASSCO. Vortmann added that the design of the 1.3-million-barrel-capacity tankers in the Alaska Class will allow maximum flexibility for oil deliveries to West Coast ports, including BP refineries in Los Angeles, CA, and Cherry Point, WA.
"The BP tanker contracts have created hundreds of jobs for NASSCO and are contributing millions of dollars in payroll, tax revenues and purchases from local suppliers each year during the life of the contract, which will run through 2006," added Vortmann. "We are continuing to hire people to fill hundreds of positions that remain available for this and other shipbuilding programs in our 10-ship backlog."
The first ship in the class, the Alaskan Frontier, was delivered in August 2004 and the second ship, the Alaskan Explorer, was delivered in March 2005. On April 10, the third ship was floated out of NASSCO’s graving dock following structural erection and is being completed pierside at the NASSCO shipyard. The third ship will be delivered later this year and the fourth ship in 2006.