Crowley Maritime Corporation christened the ninth in a series of 10 new 185,000 barrel ATBs at the VT Halter Marine shipyard in Pascagoula. The Innovation and barge 650-9 will be chartered to Chevron, to safely transport petroleum products throughout the Gulf of Mexico.
During the ceremony, Joan Pennella, wife of Crowley Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Bill Pennella, christened the 10,728-horsepower tug Innovation; while Lynn Brewer, wife of Burl Brewer, Chevron operations scheduler, christened 650-9.
The newest ATB, designed by Crowley's vessel construction and naval architecture group and built by VT Halter Marine in Mississippi, will be operated by Crowley for Chevron under a time charter agreement. Crowley already has eight, 185,000-barrel and four 155,000 barrel ATBs in the Jones Act trade. Three larger 330,000 barrel ATBs are under construction and scheduled for delivery by the end of 2012.
"Crowley is committed to providing safe and reliable petroleum transportation in Jones Act trades," said Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager, petroleum transportation. "Since 2002, we have introduced 13 new U.S.-built ATB vessels to meet customer needs, which equates to over two million barrels of capacity."
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 ft in length, 74 ft in breadth and 40 ft in depth. The fully loaded draft is 30 feet. When coupled for operation the tug and tank vessel measure 689 ft.
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-ft 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.