Crowley Maritime Corporation christened the seventh of 10 new 185,000-barrel Articulated Tug-Barge (ATB) tank vessels that the company will take delivery of in 2010 and 2011. The vessels christened were the tug Pride and barge 650-7.
During the ceremonies, which took place at the Port of New Orleans, Cruise terminal #2, Susan Rodgers, Crowley senior vice president of corporate services christened the 10,728 Hp-tug Pride, while Rita McKain, wife of Bradley McKain, manager, terminal, transport and marine for Marathon Petroleum Company, christened the barge 650-7.
Crowley Petroleum Services will charter the VT Halter Marine-built ATB from Crowley's vessel construction and naval architecture subsidiary, Vessel Management Services, and operate it for Marathon Petroleum under a time charter agreement. Crowley already has six, 185,000-barrel and four 155,000-barrel ATBs in the Jones Act trade.
"This is the seventh in a series of 10 ATBs that will enter service over the next two years," said Crowley. "The units have been well accepted by the industry and the demand for them dictates that we continue to build bigger and faster units. In addition to the remaining three 185,000-barrel, we will introduce our 750-series vessels which will carry 330,000 barrels in 2011."
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 650-7 was built at Halter's shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., and the Pride 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 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.