Vane Brothers closed a deal with British Petroleum (BP) to supply six tug boats which would maneuver six 50,000 barrel barges next to the skimmers that are collecting the oil from the gulf before pumping the oil out of the skimmers for transport to a disposal point at an oil refinery.
While Vane Brothers, a marine transportation company headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, was definitely supportive of the task, the commission from BP could not have come at a more inopportune time for the vessel the Potomac. Just three days prior, Vane Brothers had ordered a top end overhaul kit for twin Cat 3516B engines onboard the Potomac. Unfortunately, when the direction from BP was that Potomac would be needed on the scene within weeks, Vane Brothers made a plea with their local Cat dealer, Alban Tractor, to complete the engine overhaul as quickly as possible so they could commit to assistance during the crisis.
To achieve this aggressive goal (the turnaround for an overhaul typically takes 25 days, including lead time for parts), teamwork was necessary between Vane Brothers, Alban, Caterpillar and CDS Transportation. First, the overhaul kit was ordered from Caterpillar Logistics Services in Morton, Illinois, U.S., for parts to be packaged, shipped, and delivered in twelve working days. These parts were immediately transported by CDS Transportation directly to Alban, where the overhaul on both engines was then completed in just eight days, one-third of the normal turnaround time. The overhaul was thus completed in time for the Potomac to be on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, where it arrived in time to join the other Vane Brothers boats in assisting with the situation.