(Neah Bay, Wash.; July 1, 2008) – A Crowley emergency response tug began its first day of year-round service today in Neah Bay, Wash.
The emergency response tug will provide assistance to disabled ships and protect the coastline in an unprecedented tour in Washington – providing 365 continuous days of service in an effort to help prevent oil spills in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and along Washington’s pristine coastlines.
The contract extension agreement between the Washington Department of Ecology and Crowley Maritime Corporation marks the first time that a response tug will be stationed at Neah Bay for a full year of service.
Since 1999, state-funded response tugs stationed at Neah Bay have kept disabled ships from drifting onto the rocks and causing major oil spills during the severe winter months. These tugs have stood by and assisted over 40 ships that became disabled or had reduced maneuvering or propulsion during harsh winter storms.
During the 2008 legislative session, Gov. Gregoire and state lawmakers earmarked $3.7 million for the tug and directed the Department of Ecology to contract for year-round emergency response tug service starting July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.
In April, the Department of Ecology and Crowley agreed to extend the company’s existing contract to station a high-horsepower, ocean-going tug at Neah Bay for a year.
The Department of Ecology also recently reached an agreement with the Makah Indian Tribe to install new electrical outlets and upgrade other infrastructure at the Neah Bay Marina where the tug docks.
“This is a significant day for Crowley and the state as we embark on a year-round mission to protect our coastal and inland waters, and shorelines,” said Scott Hoggarth, general manager of marine services for Crowley in Seattle. “This proactive measure by the Washington Department of Ecology reduces the possibility of an environmental accident thereby providing peace of mind to coastal communities. We are pleased to be a part of this environmentally responsible measure.”
Crowley’s powerful Invader class tug Hunter (7,200 horsepower) begins service today and will remain on standby in Neah Bay until the Gladiator, the tug the company had previously stationed at Neah Bay, completes its current assignment towing a ship in the Gulf of Alaska to a safe port.
There are nearly 9,000 tankers and cargo ships transiting in and out of the strait each year. Cargo ships can carry more than two million gallons of cargo oil and oil tankers can transport up to 36 million gallons of crude oil and other petroleum products.
Beaches in the Olympic National Park, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, three national wildlife refuges, and tribal lands are directly at risk for major oil spills since they are adjacent to the shipping route.
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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