On the wake of the christening and launching of its newest heavy-lift-series deck barge in Portland, Ore., Crowley took delivery of its newest Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) - the tug Commitment and barge 650-6 in Pascagoula, Miss, on April 2. 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.
In less than a week, Crowley is scheduled to receive the Nachik, a newly-designed Alaska shallow draft tug, equipped to safely propel petroleum/freight barges in river systems throughout Alaska. In May, Crowley with also take delivery of the Nachik's sister tug, the Sesok.
"New vessel design, construction and deployment is essential to serving the needs of our customers," said Tom Crowley, company chairman, president and CEO. "We are committed to designing, building and operating the most technologically advanced and environmentally sound vessels in the industry."
The Commitment/650-6 was jointly designed by Crowley's marine technical services group and VT Halter Marine. The tank barge was built at Halter's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the tug Commitment at its shipyard, in Moss Point, Miss.
The Crowley ATB fleet is scheduled to grow to 17 by mid-2013. Included in the total are four 155,000 barrel units already deployed; ten 185,000-barrel units, six of which are in operation; and three yet-to-be-built 330,000-barrel units - the largest in the company's history and the fastest in their class.
Crowley ATBs are the newest and most environmentally friendly vessels in the company's fleet. With an impressive record of zero spills during their 1,000-plus voyages, the tank vessels are also designed to reduce immediate environmental effects such as emissions and wastewater.
The 650-6, like its sister vessels the 650-3, 650-4 and 650-5, has been certified by Lloyds Classification Society as complying with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Green Passport program.
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.
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 are 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 ft in length, 74 ft in breadth and 40 ft in depth. The fully loaded draft is about 30 ft.
On March 28, Crowley christened and launched its fourth 400 ft by 105 ft heavy lift series deck barges at Gunderson Marine in Portland. The company has plans to build up to 13 of these barges by 2013. The largest, already in operation, measures 400 ft by 130 ft.