On March 26, Crowley Maritime Corporation christened the eighth of 10 new 185,000-barrel Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) tank vessels that the company will take delivery of by 2011. The vessels christened were the tug Achievement and barge 650-8. Sure to be no stranger to the Tampa waterfront, the vessel is scheduled to visit the port once a week as it carries petroleum products for Marathon Oil Corporation.
The vessel joins other Crowley owned and or managed vessels - ATB Pride/650-7 and tankers Coast Range, Blue Ridge, and Pelican State all calling Tampa with loads of ethanol, gasoline or diesel. The vessels, starting with the tankers Coast Range and Blue Ridge, have regularly provided safe and reliable petroleum transportation to the area since 2003.
During the ceremonies, which took place at the Tampa Port Authority, Cruise terminal No. 3, Maryann Douglass, wife of Crowley Senior Vice President and General Manager, Puerto Rico/Caribbean John Douglass, christened the 10,728-horsepower tug Achievement, while Angela Ice, wife of Brent Ice, manager of marine logistics and commercial, Marathon Oil Corporation, christened the barge 650-8.
The newest ATB, designed by Crowley's vessel construction and naval architecture subsidiary, Vessel Management Services and built by VT Halter Marine in Mississippi, will be operated by Crowley for Marathon Oil Corporation under a time charter agreement. Crowley already has seven, 185,000-barrel and four 155,000-barrel ATBs in the Jones Act trade and is currently having three, 330,000 barrel ATBs built for delivery by the end of 2012.
"With the introduction of this ATB to the market, we can claim over two million barrels of capacity in the Jones Act ATB trade," said Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager, petroleum transportation. "We have added 12 vessels since the inception of this program in 2002 and have five more under construction, solidifying our commitment to customers of providing them with safe and reliable petroleum transportation for years to come."
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. Crowley and VT Halter Marine jointly designed the ATB tank vessel. The barge 650-8 was built at Halter's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the Achievement 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 are 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. The fully loaded draft is 30 feet. When coupled for operation the tug and tank vessel measure 689 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 dual mode inert gas system and vapor collection system for maximum safety. A layer of inert gas 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.
The tugs meet all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria, and have a foam capable fire monitor; twin fuel-efficient diesel engines; a noise reduction package; and other upgrades to increase crew comfort. The communication and navigation equipment is among the most technologically advanced in the industry today.
The ATB fleet has moved hundred of millions of barrels of product with zero spills since the vessels entered service in 2002.