Tampa Shipyards Christens First Of Two Navy Oilers

The Tampa Shipyards Division of The American Ship Building Company recently christened the first of two U.S. Navy fleet oilers under construction in Tampa, Fla.

Christened the USNS Benjamin Isherwood (T-AO-191) by Mrs. Ruth Marie Piotti, wife of Vice Adm.

Walter T. Piotti Jr., USN (Ret.), the oiler is 677 feet 6 inches long, has a 97-foot 6-inch beam and a maximum draft of 36 feet. She is powered by a pair of 16,500-bhp diesels and two four-blade 21-footdiameter controllable pitch propellers, and can obtain a speed of 22 knots.

Auxiliary power is provided by two 2,500-kw ship services diesels and two 2,500-kw PTOs.

The christening of the Isherwood at Tampa Shipyards represents a major step in the shipyard's return to economic health. As the first new construction christening ceremony since April 1986, this event marks the shipyard's return to prominence in new ship construction, in addition to its core ship repair and conversion business. The company's ship repair business, in fact, posted its highest level of activity in Tampa Shipyards' recent history during the fourth quarter of 1991. The company's drydock facilities have been continuously occupied since August 1991, with bookings well into this year.

The Strategic Sealift Ship acquisition program represents a major opportunity for Tampa Shipyards for the construction of several large Roll-On/Roll-Off vessels plus the conversion of existing vessels for sealift service. Tampa Shipyards is one of several U.S. yards currently under contract to the U.S. Navy to perform initial ship design activities on the Strategic Sealift Ships.

Actual contracts for existing ship conversion and new ship design and construction are expected to be competitively bid this year, utilizing $1.9 billion Congress has appropriated for Sealift programs.

The Isherwood is expected to be delivered in July 1992, while the Eckford's delivery is scheduled for late 1992.

This month also marks the start of construction at the Tampa yard of the T-AGOS-23, the lead SWATH Ocean Surveillance Ship. Tampa may build as many as five other of these ships if the Navy exercises contract options.

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Other stories from April 1992 issue


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