Jones Act Vessels Mean New Jobs for Seafarers
In a major maritime development, SIU-contracted Crowley Maritime Corporation on Aug. 9 announced an agreement with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard (APSI) to build up to eight product tankers for delivery between 2015 and the end of 2017.
Construction contracts have been signed with APSI for the first four 330,000-barrel tankers, with deliveries in 2015 and 2016. Additional agreements between Crowley and the shipyard include options for building up to four more tankers “and for expanding the cooperation initiated with Aker’s sale and delivery of two product tankers, the Florida and Pennsylvania, to Crowley in 2012 and 2013,” Crowley said in a news release. “If all options are exercised, Crowley’s industry-leading Jones Act petroleum fleet will grow to ten 330,000-barrel tankers and 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs), ranging in capacity from 155,000 to 330,000 barrels.”
APSI is a union shipyard that also has built ships for Seafarers-contracted Overseas Shipholding Group and for Matson Navigation.
“This new agreement is a big win for the SIU, for Crowley, for the shipyard and for America’s national and economic security,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “It’s definitely exciting and I know that our members will welcome the new jobs while protecting the company’s investment.”
“Through this expansion and cooperative agreement with Aker we will be providing our customers with more options for transporting their product with greater safety and efficiency than they can get from any other U.S. service provider,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “We expect these new ships to be well-received by longstanding customers as well as new customers, who should clearly be able to see the advantages of utilizing Crowley’s multi-dimensional fleet and operational expertise.”
The new 50,000 DWT product tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design which incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability, and the latest regulatory requirements. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future. HMD and APSI collaborated on the successful construction of 14 product tankers at APSI between 2007 and 2013. Design and procurement activities are already underway to support the start of construction of Crowley’s first newly contracted tanker in January 2014.
APSI expects to invest in the partnership for the first four vessels, consistent with the requirements of the Jones Act. Crowley will maintain control over the ownership, technical operation and commercial management of the vessels. APSI and Crowley will share in the economics of the operation and chartering of the new vessels, both parties reported.
“The shale revolution is creating industrial opportunities throughout the United States and specifically here in Philadelphia. We are pleased to expand our partnership with a first-class operator like Crowley to help meet the nation’s longstanding goal of energy security,” Kristian Rokke, president and CEO of Aker, said. “This strategic opportunity allows us to capitalize on the increased demand for Jones Act tankers in a way that will transform APSI in the years ahead. Diversifying our assets enhances Aker Philadelphia Shipyard’s resilience and creates long-term value for both our customers and shareholders.”
“We are very pleased to be partnering again with Aker in the construction of these new tankers,” said Rob Grune, Crowley senior vice president and general manager, petroleum services. “They are a well-established and highly respected shipbuilder. We appreciate working with Aker to supply our customers and the nation with the necessary tonnage to bring U.S. petroleum to market.”