The American Shipbuilding Company of Tampa, Florida, has announced that it has entered into a contract with Knud E. Hansen A/S of Denmark, for the preliminary design of two 800-passenger ships. American's engineers will work closely with the naval architect firm.

The ships will be built at the Tampa Shipyards. Portions will be fabricated at the company's Nashville Nabrico facility.

The construction of these vessels represents the first effort of this type undertaken in the United States for more than 30 years.

The ships are intended for service in the Hawaiian Islands.

George Steinbrenner is the company's owner.