Crowley's newest heavy-lift series deck barge 455-5 was christened and launched May 16 at Gunderson Marine Shipyard in Portland, Oregon - the latest in a bevy of new vessel deliveries for Crowley already this year.
Christened by Mary Beth Davis, the wife of Rich Davis, the BP manager for the Liberty Rig, the 400 ftlong by 105 ft wide heavy-lift barge will be used to transport the world's largest land based drilling rig for Parker Drilling and BP.
Crowley's Bruce Harland, vice president of contract services in Alaska, and Ed Schlueter, vice president of vessel management services, along with Gunderson Marine General Manager Mark Eitzen and Greg Osten, manager for project engineering for Parker Drilling, spoke at the event, stressing a strong partnership committed to operational excellence and safety.
"We are pleased to be able to continue providing services to customers doing offshore project work with the introduction of the barge 455-5," said Harland. "This christening and the continuous construction of new vessels is evidence of our commitment to our customers who have a need for new, large-sized, high-capacity barges."
The christening was also an opportunity for Gunderson to celebrate its longstanding partnership with Crowley. The 455-5 is the 42nd Crowley barge built at the Gunderson yard. To commemorate the occasion, Gunderson made a generous donation on behalf of Crowley to Hogar de Proteccion Pajarito Azul (The Little Blue Bird Home), a Nicaraguan charity that provides housing for disabled and abandoned children.
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 deck strength for loads up to 4,200 pounds per sq ft.
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. Construction of the 455-6, the next barge in the series, is currently underway and is expected to be delivered by Gunderson this summer.
Saturday's christening is latest of several vessel deliveries and christenings for Crowley this year, including heavy-lift series barge 455-4; the 185,000-barrel capacity articulated tug barge (ATB) Commitment/650-6,and the tug Nachik, a vessel specifically designed to overcome the challenges of delivering fuel and freight in shallow Alaskan waters with enhanced safety and environmental protections.
Later this month, the company is scheduled to take delivery of the Sesok, the Nachik's sister vessel, and in early June Crowley will christen the Pride/650-7 its newest 185,000-barrel ATB in Long Beach, Calif.