National Steel and Shipbuilding Company
(NASSCO) recently held a start-of-construction ceremony for NASSCO Hull 487, the fourth of four Alaska Class, double-hull oil tankers being constructed for BP Oil Shipping Company
, USA. BP's Site Team Member Richard Blaine activated a robotic welding machine and cut the first piece of steel for the new ship.
"These double-hull tankers are among the most environmentally friendly ships ever built, incorporating the latest in tanker design and construction," said Richard Vortmann
, president of NASSCO. "They will provide BP with the best available technology to protect US waters." Vortmann said the design of the four 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 and Cherry Point, WA.
Vortmann added that NASSCO is continuing to hire people to fill hundreds of positions that remain available for this and other shipbuilding programs in the company's 10-ship backlog.
The first ship, the Alaskan Frontier, was delivered to BP on August 11. On July 2, the second ship was floated out of NASSCO's graving dock following structural erection and its fitting out continues pierside. The third ship is under construction in the graving dock. The second, third and fourth ships are to be delivered in 2005 and 2006.