- Founder Thomas Crowley purchased one 18-foot Whitehall boat to provide transportation of personnel and stores to ships anchored on San Francisco Bay.
- In a few years, the one Whitehall was joined by two others serving the Bay 24-hours a day.
- In the mid-1890s, the business was incorporated under the name Thomas Crowley and Brothers.
- Crowley purchased his first 36-foot motor launch vessel shortly followed by a second 45-foot vessel, then a third 28-footer.
- Within a few years, services broadened to include bay towing and ship-assist services.
- Crowley continued to build new or buy used gasoline launches, expanding both the fleet and the type of work the company could perform.
- The company also acquired and operated small barges to transport steel to Oakland and barrels of oil, ice, and other supplies to ships in the Bay.
- Crowley's fleet played a significant role in ferrying passengers and their belongings out of San Francisco following the great earthquake.
- Operations incorporated under the name Crowley Launch and Tugboat Company. Stockholders were Thomas Crowley and his two half-brothers.
- Crowley expanded into tugboats to tow the scow schooners through the Bay
- Crowley vessels handled the transportation of nitrate from South America and coal transport for government operations.
- Tom Crowley became recognized as an expert in the most efficient ways to handle and transport marine cargoes.
- Crowley purchased tugs of his own and entered competition with Shipowners and Merchants Tugboat Company, operators of the Red Stack tugs.
- With a diverse fleet of vessels, the motto "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime on Water" was adopted.
- To manage the growing fleet, Crowley built a marine railway, a dock and a woodworking mill in 1912 and named it Crowley Shipyard.
- Crowley became the general manager of and later purchased the Red Stacks.
- Crowley dedicated personnel and equipment to the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
- Crowley purchased Paradise Park and transported people into the park from their private yachts.
- Crowley acquired several small derrick barges outfitted with A-frames and booms for lifting cargo onto and off lighters.
- During the First World War, the company built and added to its fleet a large, heavy-lift derrick barge which could perform 100-ton lifts.
- During World War I, Crowley raised the laid-up coal barge City of Panama, repaired her and converted her to a five-masted schooner, which was renamed Crowley.
- Crowley began transporting coal and other commodities to Australia and South America.
- Crowley entered a partnership with fellow vessel owner Andrew Mahoney that operated two steam schooners and three steel ships.
- Four 150-foot wooden tugs with steam engines were constructed.
- Crowley expanded into Puget Sound with lighter services and established a tugboat service in San Pedro.
- The Company provided tug, launch and barge services in San Francisco Bay along with heavy-lift and derrick barge services.
- Between 1930 and 1932 three water taxis were constructed.
- Crowley undertook a conversion program to convert from steam to diesel.
- Crowley's shipyard operation became a separate company under the Crowley name.
- Crowley entered a new partnership to perform dredging, marine construction, heavy-lifting and other derrick barge services in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego harbors.
- Crowley designed a 148-foot, 7,000 bbl. gasoline barge capable of moving refined bulk petroleum.
- The 7,000 bbl. barge was shortly joined by a 9,000 bbl. barge, and then an 11,000 bbl. barge.
- Crowley won a concession to operate two passenger services from Treasure Island to the newly constructed Golden Gate Bridge.
- Crowley purchased the oil barging equipment from Shell Oil to operate the petroleum transport in both the Bay Area and Southern California.
- Crowley's dry dock and repair company began building ships for the government in support of World War II.
- Crowley began to build and operate terminals to improve the efficiency of petroleum-distribution.
- The first terminal was built at Alviso at the extreme southern end of San Francisco Bay.
- Construction of the company's first sea-going oil barge, Barge 11, was completed in 1947.
- Crowley undertook the first coastal transportation from San Francisco to Coos Bay, Oregon, of bulk petroleum by barge.
- After the war, the Company replaced all of its surviving steam tugs with war surplus diesel equipment.
- Additional surplus vessels were purchased in the late 1940s, such as miki-class wooden hull, 1200-h.p. tugs, and flatdeck and other barges.
- The Company began the tow of the U.S. battleship Oklahoma from Hawaii to Oakland after it was bombed at Pearl Harbor.
- In the early 1950s, Crowley began hauling gasoline southward to Mexico and brought molasses northward on the return trip.
- Crowley Pioneered transportation of railcars loaded with bails of dissolving pulp on a 125-mile water link between railroad tracks at Ward Cove in Ketchikan, Alaska, and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
- Crowley acquired the Matinolich shipyard in Oakland.
- Crowley initiated its long commitment to arctic transportation with an agreement to resupply the U.S. Government's distant early warning radar and communication system on the Alaska coastline.
- Regular container transportation services to Alaska from the contiguous 48 were initiated.
- Four new steel barges capable of carrying 300 containers were introduced to the fleet along with 600 containers and terminal cranes.
- Crowley completed the first penetration of the Artic by commercial tug and barge.
- Four million board feet of lumber was transported by barge on the West Coast.
- The San Francisco Bay passenger services were expanded between 1954 and 1958.
- In the mid-1950s, Converted barges undertook the hauling of hot (350 degrees) paving-grade asphalt.
- In the 1960s, Crowley was called on by oil industry officials to help tame the waters of Cook Inlet, Alaska, by rafting tugs together to supply the necessary horsepower to set the oil exploration platforms and furnishing a supply boat and crew boat services.
- Between 1968 and 1970, five new tugs were designed and built with simplified engine rooms to lessen the number of crewmen required from 12 to eight.
- Crowley completed the first Arctic sealift of oil industry cargo around the perimeter of Alaska to Prudhoe Bay.
- Crowley's transport of 187,000 tons of cargo to Prudhoe Bay was the largest commercial sealift in maritime history.
- In May, Crowley initiated services to ferry passengers across the San Pedro channel.
- Crowley expanded oil industry support operations to Singapore to work in the Indonesian oil patch.
- A weekly roll on/roll off freight service between Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and from the U.S. Gulf to Puerto Rico was developed.
- The Company continued its support of the oil industry in Alaska as Crowley hauled more of the pipe for the 800-mile pipeline than any other company.
- Jacksonville, Florida, was added as a mainland port of call for cargo bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Crowley Maritime Corporation was formed.
- Crowley acquired a fleet of all-weather, all-terrain Rolligons, which are vehicles that use large low-pressure rubber air bags to traverse unpacked snow, summer tundra, sand, or marshland initiating the birth of CATCO.
- Personnel were dedicated to salvage and emergency response including oil spill cleanup, dock and vessel booming, design and installation of protective facilities, contingency planning and consulting.
- Aleyska selected Crowley to provide vessel assist and tanker escort services at Valdez for tankers loading crude oil for transport to the mainland states.
- Between 1974 and 1977, 25 Invader-class tugs and nine 450-series petroleum barges were built for the Company.
- The Company developed the world's largest roll-on/roll-off barges for the mainland/Puerto Rico service. By the end of the 1970s, Crowley had become the largest RO/RO carrier in the Caribbean trade operating out of the U.S. Southeast and Gulf.
- New terminals were constructed to handle the new triple-deck barges including those in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Petty's Island near Philadelphia.
- In the early 1980s, Crowley built three ships to bring containerization to the Latin America trade.
- Conversion of five triple deck barges was undertaken in 1984 to stretch the barges from 400-feet to 730-feet increasing the capacity of each vessel by 78 percent.
- Crowley continued its emphasis on services in Alaska by establishing means to store, transport and sell petroleum products from tank farms at Nome, Kotzebue, and Captain's Bay.
- New operating units in 1986 and early in 1987 further internationalized Crowley's marine operations by expanding cargo ship operations to Central America, the entire Caribbean, and both coasts of South America.
- On March 24, when the 987-foot tanker Exxon Valdez went aground, Crowley tugs were first on the scene to take up position alongside the stricken tanker. Crowley was the principle contractor of equipment and personnel to provide marine support for the spill cleanup.
- During the Persian Gulf Crisis in late 1991, Crowley chartered three RO/RO vessels and a tug and water barge to the U.S. Military Sealift Command in support of the United Nations' various military transportation and supply services.
- In March, Crowley was awarded a contract from the Saudi Arabian Government as a prime contractor in the first phase of an environmental cleanup of 450 Kilometers of oil-polluted shores in the Persian Gulf.
- Crowley was the first in the industry to establish a data input program accepted by the Federal Maritime Commission.
- In August, all Crowley companies offering liner cargo and related services to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America became part of Crowley American Transport, Inc. All other diversified marine contract and logistics services became part of Crowley Marine Services, Inc. Crowley Maritime Corporation operated as a holding company, maintaining full ownership of these two companies.
- Crowley played a leading role in the cleanup of the barge Morris J. Berman's major oil spill off the beaches of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Thomas B. Crowley, Jr., was unanimously elected to the position of Chairman of the Board, President and CEO following the passing of his father.
- Crowley formed two joint ventures, Marine Response Alliance (1994) and Clean Pacific (1995) to efficiently provide emergency services according to the requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
- Crowley launched a new, weekly Gulf Express service linking Houston with Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama.
- Crowley became one of the first companies of its kind to launch a website. Within years, the site was made interactive so customers could track their cargo, make bookings, obtain rate quotes, print Internet bills of lading in their own offices applications, etc..
- Crowley sold its South America liner business and the name Crowley American Transport to Hamburg Sud. The remaining liner business was renamed Crowley Liner Services, Inc..
- Prince William Sound-class tugs Nanuq and Tan'erliq are designed by Crowley and put to use assisting and escorting tankers in Valdez, Alaska and Prince William Sound. Offering "Best Available Technology" these 153-foot, 10,192-horsepower tugs are among the most powerful and nimble propulsion tugs in the world.
- Three 140-foot, 10,000-horsepower Prevention and Response Tugs (PRTs)--ALERT, AWARE and ATTENTIVE--are delivered for use by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's Ship Escort/Response Vessel System in Valdez, Alaska.
- Crowley acquired all of the outstanding shares of Marine Transport Corporation, a U.S.-flag petroleum and chemical tanker company and folded its business activities into Crowley Petroleum Transportation. Marine Transport Corporation continues to provide ship management services for MARAD.
- On Dec. 16, Crowley made the first licensed commercial cargo delivery directly from the United States to Havana, Cuba in nearly 40 years.
- Crowley acquired Miami-based Speed Cargo Service, a transportation services provider, adding the company to its growing logistics operations.
- Tom Crowley, Jr., was awarded the coveted AOTOS Mariners Award for his lifetime of dedication and commitment to the maritime industry.
- In April, Crowley christens its first Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) - the 9,280 HP-tug Sea Reliance and 155,000-barrel barge 550-1. It was the first ATB in a newbuild program consisting of 17 tug-barge combinations spanning more than a decade.
- Crowley expanded its international presence with the formation of Crowley Far East Services in Sakhalin State, Russia, in support of the oil and gas industry there.
- Crowley Online Services debuts as dedicated platform for electronic shipment processing and customer service, powered by GT Nexus software and infrastructure.
- Crowley acquired Apparel Transportation, Inc., a Miami-based apparel transportation services provider.
- Crowley transported more than 400 head of cattle, plus sheep and bison, from the United States to Havana, Cuba, the first shipments of livestock direct from the U.S. via ocean transport in more than 40 years.
- In December, the fourth and final 550-Class ATB is christenined - the 9,280-horsepower tug Coastal Reliance and 155,000-barrel barge 550-4.
- After providing ship assist and tanker escort services in the San Francisco Bay Area from the early 1900s to 1996. Crowley returned its tugs and service to the Bay in the Port of Oakland with two high horsepower tugs--the Tioga (Z drive - 4400 horsepower) and the Sea Robin (twin screw - 5000 horsepower).
- Salvadoran President Antonio Saca and Crowley held opening ceremonies for the company's new 24,500 square-foot distribution center in the Exportsalva Free Zone in El Salvador.
- Crowley acquired marine salvage, wreck removal and emergency response company Titan Maritime, LLC. (Later renamed TITAN Salvage).
- Crowley's port terminal operation in Gulfport, Miss. is flattened by Hurricane Katrina. The company was able to resume vessel service there several weeks later. TITAN Salvage was at the forefront of cleaning up the wreckage in the Gulf after the storm. Titan re-floated about 65 vessels in Louisiana with the use of pneumatic lift bags, linear hydraulic pullers and jack-ups. In addition to the work in Louisiana, Titan is the U.S. Coast Guard's contractor in Mississippi and Alabama and re-floated another 13 vessels.
- Crowley acquired the assets of Yukon Fuel Company, Northland Vessel Leasing and the stock of Service Oil and Gas, Inc. to expand its fuel distribution enterprise throughout Alaska.
- Crowley expands its services in Alaska with acquisition of Columbus Distributing, Inc, a fuel-distribution business.
- Crowley deployed theCrowley Alliance, the company's first Russian flagged and crewed vessel serving the offshore oil industry near Sakhalin Island, Russia. The ship�UT 708 design 12,000 BHP AHTS that is Lloyds Ice Class 1A Super�has the hull strength and power to break first-year ice up to one-meter (approximately 39.37 inches) thick.
- Crowley christens the first of ten new 185,000-barrel Articulated Tug-Barges (ATBs) - the 9,280 HP-tug Pacific Reliance and barge 650-1.
- After about two years as a public reporting company, Crowley once again became a private company on May 5 with the acquisition of all outstanding shares.
- Crowley christened the Marty J, the first of nine heavy-deck-strength 455 Series barges in a newbuild program. Measuring 400 feet by 105 feet, the barges provide both the capacity and deck strength needed to accommodate larger drilling and production units used for deepwater offshore energy exploration and development.
- Crowley satisfies a customer's need for a larger barge, widening the barge 455-3, from 105 feet to 130 feet and renaming her the Julie B.
- Crowley acquires Customized Brokers, a Miami-based company specializing in the customs clearance of fresh produce into the U.S.
- Crowley acquires Seattle-based Jensen Maritime Consultants, a naval architecture and marine engineering firm with more than 45 years experience designing and engineering a variety of different commercial vessels.
- Crowley and TITAN Salvage respond to the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, reestablishing cargo delivery in the port and reopening the port to other government and commercial traffic over a period of several weeks.
- Crowley announces that it would design, build and operate four new Ocean Class tugs by the end of 2012. The new generation of tugs feature 10,880 horsepower and are designed for endurance towing.
- Crowley begins construction of three larger, Jones Act qualified ATB's known as the 750-Class. Each tank barge will have 330,000 bbls capacity and are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2012.
- In August, Titan opens a new salvage base in Australia, further expanding its worldwide presence.
- Crowley and TITAN Salvage continue to respond to the devastating Jan 2012 earthquake in Haiti, reestablishing cargo delivery in the port and reopening the port to other government and commercial traffic over a period of several weeks
- Crowley acquired Houston-based Jarvis International Freight, Inc., a freight forwarding, export packing and logistics company primarily serving the energy, oilfield and mining industries.
- The Vision/650-10, the last of 10 articulated tug barges (ATB's) began transporting petroleum products between U.S. West Coast ports.
- Crowley established a new Houston-based business, under the name solutions, to bundle company-wide capabilities and assets with world-class project management skills to provide complete turnkey marine solutions for customers with multifaceted marine and offshore construction-related projects.
- In November, Crowley christened its largest articulated tug-barge (ATB), the Legacy/750-1, in New Orleans. The barge can carry up to 330,000-barrels of petroleum products.
- Crowley sold its fleet of company-owned CATCO® Arctic All-Terrain vehicles and related assets to Peak Oilfield Services Company.
- In April, the tender and removal of the Costa Concordia wreck was awarded to company subsidiary TITAN Salvage and partner Micoperi. The job is reported to be the largest maritime wreck removal project ever undertaken.
- Crowley towed the USS Iowa, a historic, retired Navy battleship from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
- TITAN Salvage was awarded a contract to serve as the commercial marine salvage and engineering support contractor for the Navy.
- In August, Jensen Maritime, a Crowley company, opened its third office in New Orleans.
- Crowley expanded its logistics services to include Less-than-Containerload (LCL) ocean and air cargo lifts along with Customs brokerage services to Cartagena, Colombia.
- Crowley christened the Legend/750-2, the16,000-horsepower tugboat and 330,000 barrel tank barge in Tampa, Fla. The articulated tug-barge (ATB) and will be used to transport petroleum products between the U.S. Gulf and East Coasts.
- In October, Crowley christened the first two ocean class tugboats, the Ocean Wave and the Ocean Wind in New Orleans.
- Crowley merged its Houston-based, freight forwarding, export packing and logistics company, Jarvis International Freight, Inc., into the logistics team.
- In November, the crew of Crowley's tugboat, the Guard, performed a heroic rescue of a man who was struggling to stay afloat in the waters outside of San Francisco Bay.
- In December, TITAN Salvage opened its fourth facility in Cairns, Australia.
- In January, Crowley christened its newest tanker, Florida. The 330,000-barrel vessel was immediately put to work in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for a major energy customer.
- Also that month, Crowley opened a new cold storage and warehouse facility in Miami. The 24/7 facility, CrowleyFresh, is a joint offering made possible by Crowley and Customized Brokers, and offers multiple humidity and temperature-controlled coolers to store and handle perishables.
- In April, Crowley and Bowhead Transport Company announced a joint venture to provide marine services in the Arctic.
- In May, Crowley entered the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market by acquiring Carib Energy LLC.
- Also that month, Crowley’ liner services group added more than 3,000 pieces of equipment. The additional resources allowed the company to better meet increasing customer demand throughout Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America regions.
- Crowley's Caribbean logistics group began offering regularly scheduled weekly less-than-containerload (LCL) services to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and select countries within Central America in June.
- In June, Crowley subsidiary TITAN Salvage teamed up with T&T Salvage to complete a challenging salvage project to remove a wreck from a Chilean coast.
- In July, Crowley’s petroleum distribution group completed the acquisition of Anderes Oil in Ketchikan, Alaska.
- Crowley announced in August that it would expand its fleet of petroleum vessels by building eight product tankers. (Delivery slated between 2015 and the end of 2017)
- In September, Crowley’s petroleum distribution group completed the acquisition of Taku Oil Sales in Juneau, Alaska.
- After a grueling year of preparation and engineering ingenuity, in September TITAN successfully parbuckled (raised upright) the Costa Concordia cruise ship.
- Crowley’s new ocean class tugboats completed the successful delivery of the offshore oil production and drilling platform Olympus – the largest tension-leg platform ever to be developed for the U.S. Gulf of Mexico – to its deepwater location in the Gulf. The project provided the first opportunity for all four ocean class tugs to work together on a single job.
Looking Back at our History:
125-Years of Service
A Message from Tom Crowley, Chairman and CEO
In 1892, my grandfather, Thomas Crowley, bought a Whitehall rowboat and went into business for himself shuttling personnel and supplies between the San Francisco waterfront and the tall sailing ships that would anchor in San Francisco Bay. From these humble beginnings grew the company we know today as Crowley Maritime Corporation. This year will be filled with great celebration and reflection on what we have accomplished, and how we have grown and prospered for well over a century. By taking a look back, we can better appreciate the work, sacrifice, and entrepreneurial spirit of those who came before us.
We invite you to take this celebratory journey with us by connecting with us on our 125-year anniversary page and social media channels as we look confidently to the future and our next 125 years of service.
To read the full message from Tom, click here .
To take a trip through our history to use our Interactive Timeline .
Two Men at the Helm
This book chronicles the company's first 100 years from 1892-1992. It is based on the recollections of Thomas Bannon Crowley Sr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, and other long-time employees of Crowley Maritime Corporation. All quotations cited in the text are from interviews with, or other recorded statements made by Mr. Crowley in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. This book is free to read or download for offline use. Learn more about the Crowley family business and much more information. Thank you.
In 2013, Crowley Celebrates 60 Years of Service in Alaska
In 2013, Crowley celebrated its 60th anniversary of service to the people and businesses of Alaska. Over the years, Crowley has consistently provided unique solutions to Alaska’s logistics and marine transportation challenges. As Crowley reflects on its history of service in business development and protecting the Alaskan environment, it also sets its sights on another 60 years of growth and success. Read about the last 60 years here .
50 Years in Central America: A Celebration of Leadership, Growth and Sustainability
2011 marks the 50th anniversary of ocean cargo transportation service between the U.S. and Central America for Crowley and its predecessor CCT. During this anniversary year, Crowley reflects on its history of faithful service to the people and ports of Central America and looks forward to the next 50 years of growth and opportunity. Thank you for stopping by and visiting our history page to view all the things we've done over the last 125 years.
Crowley Subsidiary Jensen Maritime Celebrates its 50th Anniversary
2011 marks the 50th anniversary of naval architecture and marine engineering excellence for Jensen Maritime. For 50 years, Jensen has been a recognized leader in these fields, designing and modifying virtually every type of vessel and providing on-location marine consulting wherever needed. As Jensen reflects on its history of innovative design and service, it also sets its sights on another 50 years of growth and success.
60 Years of Service in Puerto Rico
In 2014, Crowley celebrated its 60th anniversary of service to the people and businesses of Puerto Rico. Through the years, Crowley has continuously served the needs of people shipping cargo between "La Isla del Encanto" Puerto Rico and the United States mainland. To learn more about these decades of success and prosperity in Puerto Rico, and Crowley's future commitment to the Island, click here .
Thomas Crowley: Recollections of the San Francisco Waterfront
Crowley Maritime Corporation's founder provides an oral history of his memories growing up and building a company on the San Francisco waterfront, in an interview conducted by Karl Kortum, founder of what is now the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and Willa Klug Baum, internationally respected oral historian.
The digital version, housed at the University of California, Berkeley's Bancroft Library, can be accessed here .
Thomas B. Crowley: San Francisco Bay Tugboats to International Transportation Fleet
A look at the continued growth of Crowley Maritime Corporation from the perspective of Thomas B. Crowley, whose oral account takes off where his father's left off in Recollections of the San Francisco Waterfront.
The digital version, housed at the University of California, Berkeley's Bancroft Library, can be accessed here .