Shipbuilder at the Navy Yard renamed Philly Shipyard Inc.

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard has a new name: Philly Shipyard Inc.

Shareholders of the region's only commercial shipyard, meeting Monday in Oslo, Norway, where parent company Aker ASA is located, approved the name change, effective immediately.

"Our new name is simple yet distinctive, and better defines who we are and where we are going," said Steinar Nerbovik, shipyard president and CEO. "As a standalone Philadelphia-based company, we continue our focus on building safe and quality ships that support the nation's commerce."

A public company listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Philly Shipyard employs about 1,100 at the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia.

The company will change its ticker symbol from AKPS to PHLY on Dec. 3.

The shipbuilder, which constructs mainly product tankers and large container ships, has orders to build ships through December 2018 in compliance with the U.S. Jones Act, which requires all vessels shipping cargo between U.S. ports to be U.S.-built.

Seven product tankers are under construction.

Aker announced in Julyit would divest its ship-owning investments in a joint venture with Crowley Corp., and a venture with American Shipping Co. called Philly Tankers, for a total of eight product tankers with a contract value of $1 billion.

"Changing our name signifies our strategy to refocus the business on shipbuilding, following the agreements reached last quarter to divest our shipping assets," Nerbovik said Monday.

In late 1997, then-Mayor Ed Rendell and then-Gov. Tom Ridge agreed to spend $429 million in taxpayer money - a combination of state, city and federal grants - to rebuild the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyard into a commercial shipbuilding facility.

Formerly called Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, the yard opened in 2000 and delivered its first ship in 2003 to Matson Navigation Co.

In 2011, Pennsylvania taxpayers, during the Gov. Tom Corbett administration, provided another $42 million to help keep Aker shipyard in business, after a global recession stalled ship building worldwide.

lloyd@phillynews.com

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@LoydLinda