The following is the text of a news release from Philly Shipyard:
(PHILADELPHIA) — Philly Shipyard Inc., the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA, held a ceremonial keel-laying Wednesday for the third product tanker in a four-vessel order for American Petroleum Tankers (APT), a Kinder Morgan Inc. subsidiary.
Keeping with long-held shipbuilding tradition, coins were placed on one of the keel blocks before the 650-ton unit was lowered into place in the dry dock. Representatives from Philly Shipyard and Kinder Morgan were in attendance to place the coins as a sign of good fortune and safe travels. Philly Shipyard representatives included the most recent graduates of the company’s Apprentice Program.
Initiated in 2004, the three-year apprenticeship program develops the next generation of Philly Shipyard employees. The recent graduation class added 15 skilled shipbuilders to the work force, bringing the shipyard’s apprentices to 23 percent of its current work force. Since the program’s inception, 21 apprentices have moved into management positions and many have obtained additional manufacturing qualifications. The shipyard expanded the program this year and has hired 50 apprentices with intent to hire another 50 apprentices in 2017.
When completed in 2017, the product tanker celebrated Wednesday will be 600 feet long and capable of carrying 50,000 tons of crude oil or refined petroleum products. The Tier II 50,000-deadweight-ton (dwt) product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel-efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of liquefied natural gas for propulsion in the future.
Philly Shipyard has delivered 24 ships in its 17-year history. The four product tankers for APT are currently under construction and have planned deliveries in 2016 and 2017. Also under construction at the shipyard are two 3,600-TEU containerships for Matson Navigation Company Inc. with planned deliveries in the third quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019.