(Secaucus, N.J.; June 1, 2005) – Marine Transport Corporation, a Crowley Maritime Corporation subsidiary, recently reached a three-year agreement with ConocoPhillips to charter a new 185,000-barrel articulated tug-barge (ATB) tank vessel currently under construction in Mississippi and scheduled for delivery in February 2006.
The new ATB, which will be comprised of the tug Pacific Reliance and barge 650-1, features 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 not required of product carriers.
“ConocoPhillips is pleased to be the first company to commit to using this new class of double-hull articulated tug barges,” said Antonio Valdes, general manager for ConocoPhillips marine division. “The new ATB will enhance our existing fleet of double-hull vessels and provide another option for safely moving clean fuel products from our Gulf Coast refineries to markets on both the U.S. east and west coasts.”
“We are delighted that ConocoPhillips has agreed to charter the ATB 650-1,” said Steve Collar, vice president of chartering for Marine Transport. “Our customers today expect nothing less than the use of best available technology when it comes to the design of new innovative vessels to meet their transportation requirements. This class of ATB raises the bar to a new level in terms of reliability, cargo flexibility and environmental friendliness.”
The ATB Pacific Reliance/650-1 is one of two such vessels Crowley has under construction at VT Halter Marine in Mississippi. The second, identical unit is scheduled for delivery in August 2006. They were primarily designed and will be owned by Vessel Management Services, a Crowley subsidiary and part of its corporate services segment. Vessel Management Services provides technical project support services involving naval architecture and marine engineering, contracting, on-site representation for ship, tug and barge construction and ownership of new vessels for the parent company. In 2002 and 2003, the company delivered four new 155,000-barrel ATBs to Marine Transport, all of which are chartered and operating on the U.S. West Coast.
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.
As with all of Crowley’s ATBs, barge 650-1 is being built under the ABS SafeHull program for maximum environmental protection. This program puts the vessel design through an exhaustive review to identify structural loads and strengthen the vessel structure. The 650 class barge will be 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. Her fully loaded draft is 30 feet.
There is a cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks to assure maximum cargo integrity and segregation flexibility; two anchor windlasses, each equipped with 10 shots of chain for offshore mooring operations, and a vacuum system with three retention tanks to easily handle cargo changes. There is also a dual mode inert gas system 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 tug Pacific Reliance meets all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria, and will have a foam capable fire monitor; twin fuel efficient, reduced emission electronic diesel 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. The tug will be virtually identical to the four currently deployed with 550 series barges on the West Coast, all of which have performed very well in all types of seas and weather conditions.
Marine Transport Corporation is a U.S.-based supplier of marine transportation services, with one of the largest U.S.- based fleets of ocean going vessels. The companys core business is industrial shipping with leading chemical and energy customers, and ship management for government and commercial companies. It is part of Crowley’s oil and chemical transportation and distribution segment.
Oakland-based Crowley Maritime Corp., founded in 1892, is primarily a family- and employee-owned company engaged in worldwide logistics, liner services, contract towing and transportation, energy support services, ship assist and escort services, vessel management and petroleum and chemical marine transport. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.
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