News and Media

Crowley Christens New Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) Tank Vessel in Tampa

(Tampa, Fla.; Oct. 2, 2008) – Yesterday, Crowley Maritime Corporation christened the fifth of ten new 185,000-barrel Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) tank vessels that the company will take delivery of by the end of 2010. The vessels christened were the 9,280 HP-tug Courage and barge 650-5.

During ceremonies held at the Tampa Port Authority Cruise Terminal on Channelside Drive, Jane Collar, wife of Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager, technical services, christened the Courage, while Kim Michel Case, wife of Tracy Case, terminals, transport and marine manager of Marathon Petroleum Company LLC, christened barge 650-5.

The vessel was designed and built by Crowley’s technical services group at VT Halter and is being operated by Crowley’s petroleum services group with a time charter to Marathon.

Crowley already has eight ATBs in operation and has announced plans to build three larger 750-series (330,000-barrel capacity) ATBs for delivery by the middle of 2013. Once all vessels are received, the fleet will stand at 17.

“While Marathon currently charters two tankers – Blue Ridge and Coast Range – from Crowley, this marks their first foray into our ATB fleet,” said Bill Taylor, vice president, Crowley Atlantic and Gulf services.

The 650-5, like its sister vessels the 650-3 and 650-4, has been certified by Lloyd’s Classification Society as complying with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Green Passport program. This certification ensures that any and all potentially hazardous materials that went into the original construction of the barge have been identified and will be properly disposed of when the barge ceases trading at the end of its useful life.

The ATBs are the newest and most environmentally friendly vessels in Crowley’s fleet. They have an impressive record of zero spills during their 1,000-plus voyages while boasting other environmentally friendly traits as well. The Reliance class ATBs were designed to reduce immediate environmental effects such as emissions and wastewater, while others are designed to protect the environment in the unlikely case that a large spill occurred.

The tug’s design incorporates the use of wing ballast tanks, engine room inner bottoms, and a fuel tank cascade overflow system. The barges were designed and equipped with a dual emergency retrieval system, one in the bow and one in the stern. These systems provide two separate retrieval hawsers (thick ropes or cables used to tow a ship) in the event of an emergency. In the unlikely event that the tug should separate from the barge, the dual systems can be utilized to prevent the barge from getting to the beach or being breached resulting in a spill.

The tugs are designed and outfitted with grey water holding tanks to capture all grey water (non-industrial wastewater generated from domestic processes such as dish washing, laundry and bathing) when in port to reduce pollution. All engine and slop water including produced water, ballast water from oil cargo and deck water are all discharged ashore to licensed waste disposal contractors even though the vessels are equipped with OWS Oily Water Separators in the event of an emergency.

An ATB has an articulated, or hinged, connection system between the tug and barge, which allows movement in one axis, or plane in the critical area of fore and aft pitch.

Crowley and VT Halter Marine jointly designed the ATB tank vessel. The barge 650-5 was built at Halter’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the Courage at its shipyard, in Moss Point, Miss.

The new ATBs feature the latest systems technology and double-hull construction for maximum safety and reliability. Not only does the unit have the capability of transporting refined products, but it can also carry heated cargoes and easy chemicals, which require special arrangements of vents, stripping systems, pump components and tank coatings above that normally required for product carriers.

All of Crowley’s ATBs are built under the ABS SafeHull program for environmental protection. This program puts the vessel design through an exhaustive review to identify structural loads and strengthen the vessel structure. The 650-Class barges will be 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. The fully loaded draft will be 30 feet.

There is an electric cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks to assure maximum cargo integrity and segregation flexibility; two anchor windlasses and associated equipment to enable the vessel to accommodate offshore mooring operations; and a vacuum system with three retention tanks to easily handle cargo changes. There is an inert gas generator and vapor collection system for maximum safety. A layer of inert gas covers products in the tanks to make the atmosphere too lean for combustion. An enhanced mooring system features 1,000-foot Spectra-type lines on split drums with a high-speed recovery rate of 100 feet per minute.

The tugs meet all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria, and have a foam capable fire monitor; twin fuel-efficient heavy fuel oil engines; a noise reduction package; and other upgrades to increase crew comfort. The communication and navigation equipment is among the most technologically advanced in the industry today.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, founded in San Francisco in 1892, is a privately held family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are the following services: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.

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