In the first of several vessel deliveries over the next few weeks, Crowley christened and launched its newest heavy-lift series deck barge, the 455-4, Saturday at Gunderson Marine Shipyard in Portland, Ore.
The 400 ft long, 105 ft wide barge was christened by Carey Graham, wife of Parker Drilling Vice President Dennis Graham. The vessel's first assignment will be hauling a Parker Drilling Rig. Following that assignment, it will be turned over to a major energy company for work on the world's largest land-based rig in Alaska's North Slope at Satellite Drilling Island (SDI).
Crowley has plans to build up to 13 of these high-capacity barges by 2013. The largest, already in operation in the U.S. Gulf, measures 400 ft by 130 ft. The 455-5, the next barge in the series, is expected to be delivered by Gunderson in May.
Crowley's heavy-lift 455 series deck barges with 25 ft side shells provide both the capacity and deck strength needed to accommodate larger drilling and production units used for deepwater offshore energy exploration and development. They provide increased stability for loads up to 4,200 pounds per square foot.
Continuing the flurry of new vessel deliveries in the next few weeks, Crowley is also scheduled to take delivery of its newest Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) - the tug Commitment and barge 650-6 - in Pascagoula, Miss. - later this week. The 185,000-barrel ATB, the 10th in Crowley's fleet, has been chartered by a major energy company to transport petroleum products on the U.S. West Coast beginning in April.
On the heels of that delivery, Crowley will receive, in about one week, the Sesok and Nachik, two newly-designed shallow draft tugs, which are designed to safely propel petroleum/freight barges in river systems throughout Alaska.