Tug Tows Aircraft Carrier Around South America
SEATTLE (September 15, 1999) The Crowley Marine Services (CMS) tug Sea Victory returned to Seattle on September 1, from a 21,540-mile voyage that included the 112-day, 15,153-mile tow of the aircraft carrier ex-USS Oriskany from Vallejo, California around the Southern tip of South American via the Strait of Magellan to Beaumont, Texas.
In mid-January, the U.S. Navy selected Crowley to move the aging aircraft carrier from its berth at the Mare Island Shipyard at Vallejo to the Naval Reserve Fleet facility in Beaumont. Crowley began the tow in mid-April, one of the longest in Crowley history. The route brought the carrier around the Southern tip of South America because it was too large to fit through the Panama Canal. When the crew members returned to Seattle, they had been aboard for more than 130 days. The voyage was on schedule, on budget, without a single lost-time accident or mechanical failure. This accomplishment is particularly noteworthy due to the complexities of managing this unique vessel during several port calls for refueling the tug.
The 149-foot, 7,200 horsepower tug Sea Victory is one of three Crowley tugs of this class. The Sea Victory is designed to operate in extremely adverse conditions and is well-suited for ocean towing with a bollard pull of 240,000 pounds, a range of 28 days and 4500 miles and a fuel capacity of nearly 200,000 gallons.
The USS Oriskany was the last of the Essex Class Carriers to be built. After her deck was angled, and her bow was enclosed, she was designated as an Oriskany “Improved-Essex” Class carrier. Oriskany completed 25 cruises and launched more aircraft sorties in more wars than any other carrier.
The hull of the “Mighty O” was built at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and launched October 13, 1945. The ship completed final construction and was commissioned September 25, 1950. The “O-Boat” was more than three football fields long, 225 feet tall, and 197 feet wide. She displaced 46,000 tons of water. When on active duty, she carried a crew of 3,500 men, 9,445 tons of ordnance, 20MM ammunition, and 80 aircraft. The Oriskany put out to sea sixteen times in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. On April 15, 1976, the “Mighty O” was put into the reserves. She is scheduled to be scrapped in the U.S. Gulf region.
Crowley Marine Services, Inc. provides specialized marine transportation and logistics services on a worldwide basis, operating one of the worlds largest fleets of marine and related equipment. The companys primary services include tanker escort and ship assist; petroleum transportation and sales; contract barge transportation and ocean towing; logistics and support services; marine salvage and emergency response services by CMS; and all-terrain transportation.