SIU Jobs Secure in Tanker Sale

 

Construction Starts on LNG-Powered Crowley ConRo

 

December 2014

 

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Seafarers-contracted Crowley Maritime recently made headlines, first with the start of construction on a new vessel, and then with the sale of two tankers. The latter announcement happened Nov. 5 and involved the sale of the SIU-crewed Pennsylvania and Florida to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. SIU members will continue sailing aboard both vessels, with no changes in the contract. Crowley will continue to manage the ships, which have been under long-term charter transporting gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and crude oil since entering service in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

 

“For our crews, it is business as usual,” noted SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker.

 

“This transaction helps Crowley maintain a healthy balance in our capital program,” said Tom Crowley, company chairman and CEO. “We have invested more than $1.5 billion in new, U.S.-built tank vessels in recent years, giving us a fleet of 17 articulated tug barges (ATBs) and four new 330,000 barrel tankers being delivered in 2015 and 2016. We are committed to continuing to provide safe and reliable petroleum transportation to our customers.”

 

In announcing the sale, Crowley Maritime specifically mentioned both the SIU and the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers (AMO, which provides the licensed mariners on those ships) and credited them for “safely operating these tankers since their inception.”

 

Meanwhile, in late October, VT Halter Marine, Inc. started construction on the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)- powered, combination container-roll-on/roll-off (ConRo) ships for Crowley. A ceremony at the Pascagoula, Mississippi, shipyard included the cutting of the first steel plate.

 

Both of the ConRo vessels are slated for delivery in 2017, signaling new job opportunities for Seafarers in the Jones Act trade.

 

“We have waited with great anticipation for the Commitment Class build program to start,” said John Hourihan, Crowley’s senior vice president and general manager, Puerto Rico/Caribbean liner services. “These new ships will embody superior technology and construction and we are anxious to get them into service for our partners in Puerto Rico.”

 

“VT Halter Marine is pleased and excited to announce the first steel plate cut which launches the official start of construction for these new LNG ConRo ships. These vessels signify how important the Jones Act is to Americans employed in the marine industry. We are most grateful for Crowley’s continued confidence in VT Halter Marine,” said Bill Skinner, CEO, VT Halter Marine.

 

According to Crowley Maritime, the Commitment Class ships “have been designed to maximize the carriage of 53-foot, 102-inch-wide containers, which offer the most cubic cargo capacity in the trade. The ships will be 720 feet long, 105 feet wide, have a deep draft of 10 meters, and an approximate deadweight capacity of 26,500 metric tons. Cargo capacity will be approximately 2,400 TEUs (20-foot-equivalentunits), with additional space for nearly 400 vehicles in an enclosed Ro/Ro garage. The main propulsion and auxiliary engines will be fueled by environmentally- friendly LNG. The ship design is provided by Wartsila Ship Design in conjunction with Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a leading Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm.”

 

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