As part of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, older, single-hulled petroleum transport vessels have been gradually phased out in favor of double-hulled vessels that reduce the risk of environmental disasters. As part of our constant push for product innovation, we developed and have been continually refining our Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) design, working to create a vessel that facilitates safer more cost-efficient operations while mitigating environmental risks.
In order to meet the demands and requests of our customers, we were tasked with building a vessel that could carry 330,000 barrels of products. More importantly, this vessel needed to be able to make 15 knots, without sacrificing any maneuverability or stability that could put the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where they’d be operating, at risk. The fact that this combination of carrying capacity, speed and seaworthiness was unprecedented in the petroleum services industry was something we took as a personal challenge.
Our Vessel Management Services Group, after consulting with our Petroleum and Chemical Transportation Team, came up with a design that redefined the industry. The 750 Class ATB, which will begin operating in the Gulf of Mexico by 2011, features an innovative hull with engines and propellers that are integrated in pods, creating both the stability and speed required of the vessels. Each of the 14 cargo tanks has its own pump to reduce the chances of cargo contamination. And with a length of over 600 feet, the barge has a carrying capacity of 330,000 barrels, almost double that of our 650 Class ATB.
The teamwork between Vessel Management and Petroleum Services that took place during the concept and construction phases exemplifies the collaborative approach that’s contributed to the success of so many of our ship-building endeavors. In addition, members of the Vessel Management Services team have been a constant presence at Halter Marine Shipyard, overseeing every phase of engineering and construction to ensure a high-quality, safely operating finished product.