Crowley Christens New ATB

Thursday, August 16, 2007
Yesterday, Crowley Maritime Corporation christened the third of ten new 185,000-barrel Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) tank vessels that the company will take delivery of by the end of 2010. The vessels christened were the 9,280 HP-tug Resolve and barge 650-3. During ceremonies held at the Mobile Convention Center on South Water Street, Nancy Schlueter, wife of Ed Schlueter, vice president of Crowley's Vessel Management Services (VMS) christened the Resolve, while Alison Haber-Djuve, wife of Karsten Djuve, regional chartering manager, BP Shipping USA, christened barge 650-3.

Crowley's Petroleum Services group will charter the VT Halter Marine-built ATB from VMS, and operate it for BP under a seven-year agreement. The 650-3 is the first vessel in the United States to be certified by Lloyds Classification Society as complying with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Green Passport program. This certification ensures that any and all potentially hazardous materials that went into the original construction of the barge have been identified and will be properly disposed of when the barge ceases trading at the end of its useful life.

Crowley already has four, 155,000-barrel ATBs and two 185,000-barrel ATBs operating. Crowley and VT Halter Marine jointly designed the ATB tank vessel. The barge 650-3 was built at Halter's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the Resolve at its shipyard, in Moss Point, Miss. The new ATBs feature 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 above that normally required for product carriers.

All of Crowley's ATBs are built under the ABS SafeHull program for environmental protection. This program puts the vessel design through an exhaustive review to identify structural loads and strengthen the vessel structure. The 650-Class barges will be 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. The fully loaded draft will be 30 feet. There is an electric cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks to assure maximum cargo integrity and segregation flexibility; two anchor windlasses and associated equipment to enable the vessel to accommodate offshore mooring operations; and a vacuum system with three retention tanks to easily handle cargo changes. There is also a nitrogen generator and vapor collection system for maximum safety. A layer of nitrogen 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.

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