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Crowley, Greenbrier Launch and Christen New Fuel Barge for Alaska

Qamun’s Innovative Design Adds Efficiency, Reliability and Safety for Petroleum Transportation

Crowley Fuels and Greenbrier have launched Qamun, a new barge to serve Alaska with safe, reliable and even more efficient fuel service.

Crowley achieved a significant milestone in its 55,000-barrel articulated tug-barge (ATB) new-build project with the launch and christening at Greenbrier Marine of Qamun, a double-hulled petroleum barge specifically designed for the Alaska fuels market.

The 350-foot vessel was sponsored by Natalie Meidel, wife of Rick Meidel, vice president and general manager of Crowley Fuels Alaska. She carried out the long-standing maritime tradition of breaking a ceremonial bottle against the hull.

The barge will be paired with the tug Aurora, which has been launched and is nearing completion at Master Boat Builders Inc., in Coden, Ala. Delivery to Crowley is expected in April 2021.

A small group of representatives from Crowley and Greenbrier came together for a small, private launch at Greenbrier’s facility in Portland, Ore. All attendees participated in a short, socially distanced christening ceremony on the barge deck and rode the barge into the water as it was launched. This was the first time a launch had been observed at Greenbrier Marine in this way. Due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols, launch attendance was limited for health and safety.

Natalie Meidel,sponsor, carries about the ceremony to christen Qamun for Crowley Fuels and Greenbrier.

Qamun’s construction continues a Crowley-Greenbrier relationship that has produced 10 previous, heavy deck-strength barges since 2007 to support offshore energy and other industries.

“We congratulate the men and women at Greenbrier and our company for reaching this milestone toward this innovative barge,” said Rick Meidel. “The Qamun, paired with Aurora, will bring a new generation of cost-efficient, sustainable service for Alaskan communities and business customers. Teams at Crowley and Greenbrier have worked hard together to ensure this vessel design and its construction delivers exceptional service to ensure, high quality, life-sustaining fuel supply continues to reach across the most remote parts of the state on-time.”

Besides the Meidels, Crowley attendees included, Matt Yacavone, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley Shipping; Ray Martus, vice president, Crowley Engineering Services; Bryan Nichols, director,  business development, Crowley Shipping; Rick McKenna, project manager, Crowley construction management; and Jon Marshall, a vessel paint inspection contractor representing Crowley. 

Greenbrier attendees included Mark Eitzen, senior vice president, Greenbrier Marine sales, marketing and business development; Richard Hunt, vice president and acting general manager, Greenbrier Gunderson; Walt Stokman, production manager; and Jeff Gregg, production manager.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Crowley on this important project. Our shared goal to supply the U.S. with dependable, high-quality marine products and services was demonstrated in our work together on this Jones Act-compliant barge,” said William A. Furman, Greenbrier Chairman and CEO. “The socially distanced barge launch was a resounding success, and I am pleased we were able to capture footage of the spectacle for those unable to attend.”   

Crowley Engineering Services provided on-site construction management using a design powered by Jensen Maritime, its recently integrated naval architecture and marine engineering firm. The ATB was specifically designed to meet Ice Class and Polar Code requirements to operate safely and effectively in Western Alaska year-round. It features protections for the environment using energy efficient, lower emission engines and a first-of-its-kind lightering helmet to support safe and fast load rates. Its shallow draft will meet the fuel needs of Western Alaska, which depends on maneuverable and functional vessels for reliable supplying

Qamun’s launch represents the commitment to innovation and quality in design, construction and management by all of our teams,” said Martus. “We are proud to celebrate this milestone with our partners at Greenbrier, and we look forward to delivering a high-performing ATB that leads the Alaska fuel market using sustainable, high performing design and quality shipbuilding.”

The barge and tug are compliant with the Jones Act, a law requiring any vessel that ships goods between U.S. ports to be manufactured in the United States, and American operated.