Ceremonies Mark Crowley Fleet Expansion


November 2014


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SIU-contracted Crowley Maritime recently demonstrated its commitment to continued fleet expansion with a tugboat christening in Louisiana and a keel-laying ceremony for a new tanker in Pennsylvania.


On Oct. 15, the fourth Crowley-operated ocean-class tugboat, the Ocean Sun, was christened in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The ceremony officially introduced the latest of the dynamic positioning 2 (DP2) tugboats in Crowley’s expanding ocean towing fleet, though all four vessels (Ocean Wave, Ocean Wind, Ocean Sky and Ocean Sun) have been involved in major offshore oil production installations in the Gulf of Mexico dating back many months.


Ten SIU crew members, SIU Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey and SIU Houston Port Agent Mike Russo attended the ceremony, which included approximately 80 guests. The SIU crew consisted of Capt. Ted Caffy, Chief Mate James Mortimer, Second Mate Nathaniel Leachman, Chief Engineer Dominic Castner, Assistant Engineer Andrew Clarke, Assistant Engineer Steve Haver, AB Farrel Bodden, AB Steve Kendrick, OS Devin Koonce and Chief Cook Terrance Sawyer.


Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley’s solutions group, opened the ceremony and was followed by a series of speakers including company President and CEO Tom Crowley.


In his speech, Crowley said, “Today we are pleased to formally welcome the latest of our four Jones Act ocean-class tugboats to the fleet and culminate this multi-year build program… These boats, along with their exceptional crews, have consistently met and exceeded the expectations of our energy customers doing business in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. We look forward to many years of service from these powerful and reliable cornerstone vessels.”


All four of the ocean-class tugboats are designed to have a minimum bollard pull of 150 metric tons and a range of approximately 12,600 nautical miles at 15 knots free running, according to the company. They are outfitted with twin-screw, controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles and high-lift rudders for a combination of performance and fuel economy.


Corgey expressed what this new tonnage means to the SIU.


“This is the fourth ocean-class vessel christened in the last two years, and it is a state-of-the-art vessel that firmly establishes Crowley and SIU members in the highly competitive dynamic positioning offshore oil and gas towing industry,” Corgey noted. “We think we have the advantage due to advanced training programs at Piney Point, Maryland (home of the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center), as well as a competitive compensation package that allows us to attract and retain the very best mariners to safely and efficiently operate these vessels in our domestic energy market.”


Three weeks prior to the tug christening, on Sept. 24, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard (APSI) officially started construction on the first of four product tankers for Crowley with a ceremonial keel laying. The 330,000-barrel, Jones Act tankers are being built through a joint venture between Crowley and Aker, which is a union shipyard.


Keeping with tradition, several coins were placed on one of the keel blocks by representatives from Crowley, APSI and others before the unit was lowered into place in the dry dock. The coins are a ceremonial sign of good fortune and safe travels.


Rob Grune, Crowley’s senior vice president and general manager, petroleum and chemical transportation, spoke at the ceremony.


“Adding these new Jones Act tankers to our fleet allows us to continue providing our customers with diverse and modern equipment to transport their petroleum and chemical products in a safe and reliable manner,” Grune said. “We are pleased with the progress being made on these vessels and with the good working relationships we have developed with Aker.”


Delivery of the new tankers is expected in 2015 and 2016. The vessels will be constructed with consideration for the use of LNG for propulsion in the future. When completed, each vessel will be 600 feet long and capable of carrying crude oil or refined petroleum products.


APSI Managing Director Steinar Nerbovik said, “These U.S.-built vessels play an important role in our country’s energy independence while providing good jobs for the men and women who build and sail her.”

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