Crowley Christens ATB

Company Earns Recognition for Environmental Efforts

September 2010

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Seafarers-contracted Crowley Maritime Corporation on Aug. 10 christened the ninth in a series of 10 new 185,000-barrel articulated tug-barge units (ATBs) at the VT Halter Marine shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. According to the company, the tug Innovation and barge 650-9 will be chartered to Chevron, to safely transport petroleum products throughout the Gulf of Mexico.


Less than one week earlier, Crowley announced that it had received an environmental award for its efforts to significantly reduce carbon emissions at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach, Calif. Crowley was recognized in late July during the third annual San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan luncheon in Long Beach.


“Both the christening of the new ATB and the earning of the environmental award are worth celebrating,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “Crowley is committed to the American-flag fleet and to protecting the environment while creating and maintaining good jobs. The SIU shares those commitments.”


At the ATB christening, SIU Port Agent Jimmy White (based in Mobile, Ala.) represented the union. During the morning 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 the barge 650-9.


Crowley already has eight 650-Class ATBs capable of carrying 180,000 barrels apiece and four 550-Class ATBs which can carry 148,000 barrels. These units are Jones Act-qualified, having been built in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. citizen mariners. Three larger Jones Act-qualified ATBs known as the 750-Class, which will each have a 330,000-barrel capacity, are under construction and are 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.”


According to the company, the new ATBs feature the latest systems technology and double-hull construction for maximum safety and reliability. The 650-Class barges are 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. The fully loaded draft is 30 feet. When coupled for operation the tug and tank vessel measure 689 feet.


There is an electric 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.


Concerning the safety award, Crowley pointed out that representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Port of Long Beach, Port of Los Angeles and other government agencies reviewed all nominations before choosing Crowley for its “Significant Early Action to Reduce Emissions Award.” Crowley’s Bill Metcalf, director of engineering, accepted the award on the company’s behalf.


In the awards letter sent to Crowley by Christopher Patton, acting deputy director of environmental management at the Port of Los Angeles, and Richard Cameron, director of environmental planning at the Port of Long Beach, the company was congratulated for its “significant early action to reduce air pollutant emissions,” specifically for the company’s proactive initiative to conduct an extensive engine re-powering of its Harbor Class tugs that provide ship assist and tanker escort services in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.


The SIU-crewed Crowley tugs Admiral, Leader, Scout and Master were reintroduced to the fleet earlier this year following the installation of Tier II compliant engines. The project was partially funded by the Port of Los Angeles Air Quality Mitigation Incentive Program. All vessel operators in the area are required to upgrade their engines to be Tier II emissions compliant by 2013.


In another environmental initiative known as cold ironing, SIU-crewed Crowley tugboats in Los Angeles and Long Beach last year began using newly installed shoreside electrical power when not on the job to cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Previously, tugs tied up at the dock needed to run their generators to provide electrical power.

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