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. The company also began construction today 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 let’s not forget the employees who exercise such great care and their families that sacrifice so much to make events like this possible. It’s 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.
“We are very pleased with the progress of these vessels and the significant milestones we are celebrating today,” said Tom Young, director of BAE Systems’ Jacksonville shipyard. “We value the strong partnership with Jackson Offshore and appreciate their confidence in our ability and our team.”
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.
BAE Systems currently employs approximately 400 people in Jacksonville and expects to hire an additional 100 workers there by mid-2013. Career opportunities are available at www.baesystems.jobs.
BAE Systems is a leading provider of ship repair, maintenance, modernization, conversion, overhaul and ship construction for commercial, private and government customers. The company operates six full-service shipyards in Alabama, Florida, Northern and Southern California, Virginia, and Hawaii, and offers a highly skilled and experienced workforce of more than 5,000 employees, dry docks, and significant pier space and ship support services. The company also has proven commercial shipbuilding, module fabrication and robust industrial fabrication capabilities at the Mobile and Jacksonville shipyards.
BAE Systems’ customer base includes industry leaders operating offshore energy support vessels, oil exploration vessels, cargo ships, cruise ships, oil transportation vessels and international carriers.