BAE Systems holds a keel laying ceremony for the first of 4 platform supply vessels for Jackson Offshore Operators.
The new vessels, which will support drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico, reflect BAE Systems continued growth in U.S. commercial shipbuilding and its support to the offshore oil and gas industry. Concurrently, the company also began construction on a second vessel.
A keel laying ceremony is a shipbuilding tradition that celebrates the beginning of the life of a ship. Lee Jackson, president and chief executive officer of Jackson Offshore Operators, authenticated the keel of Hull 255 by welding his initials into the keel plate and verifying that the keel has been truly and fairly laid.
"We are excited about this great milestone," said Jackson. "It represents tremendous progress for Jackson Offshore and BAE Systems. And lets not forget the employees who exercise such great care and their families who sacrifice so much to make events like this possible. Its truly a joy to watch the ship begin to take shape and we are surely looking forward to her launch."
Each of the Jackson Offshore Operators vessels will be qualified under the U.S. Jones Act and will measure 252 feet long and 60 feet wide. The first two vessels will be completed and delivered in 2014.
The Jackson Offshore contract is part of a continued effort by BAE Systems to increase new construction workload at its facilities in Jacksonville and Mobile, Ala. The company is currently building two dump scows and a trailing suction hopper dredge in Mobile and recently commenced construction on the first of two platform supply vessels.