Crowley Contracts for Large, Fast ATBs

Friday, September 28, 2007
Maritime Corporation's Vessel Management Services subsidiary has signed a contract with VT Halter Marine Inc. and Dakota Creek Shipyards to build three articulated tug-barge (ATB), 330,000-barrel tank vessels, the largest in the company's history and the fastest in their class. The new vessels will be delivered in yearly intervals between the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2013. VT Halter Marine will construct the barges, which will have 78 percent more capacity than Crowley's 650-class vessels (185,000 - barrel capacity) in its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Dakota Creek will build the 16,320-horsepower tugs in its Anacortes, Wash., shipyard.

Once received, the three new Jones Act ATBs (Legacy/750-1, Legend/750-2 and Liberty/750-3) will be operated in the U.S. coastwise trade by Crowley's petroleum services segment. These three new vessels will bring Crowley's total ATB fleet to 17, including four 155,000-barrel and ten 185,000-barrel ATBs.

"These ATBs are being constructed to be some of the largest and certainly the fastest in the trade," said Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager, Technical Services. "Not only will they be able to carry 330,000-barrels of product safely, but we also expect them to do so quickly - to the tune of 15.1 knots." The new ATBs will feature the latest systems technology and double-hull construction for maximum safety and reliability. Not only will the units have the capability of transporting refined products, but they will also be able to carry heated cargoes. The tug will be one of the first of it's kind built to ABS R2 classification which provides a higher level of redundancy than found on a standard product tanker or ATB. There will be a bulkhead dividing the port and starboard engine rooms that allow the vessel to continue to operate on one engine in the event of a catastrophic incident such as a fire in the other engine room.

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 750-Class barges will be 45,000 deadweight tons, 600 feet in length, 105-feet, six-inches in breadth and 54-feet, three-inches in depth. The fully loaded draft will be 35 feet.

There will be an electrically driven cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks and two slop 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 will also be a dual mode inert gas system and vapor collection system for maximum safety. 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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