The SIU-contracted Jones Act fleet made a noteworthy addition Aug. 16 when the unionbuilt tanker West Virginia was christened at Philly Shipyard. SIU crew members and officials (Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi and Port Agent Joe Baselice) attended the ceremony.
Like its sister ships Louisiana, Ohio and Texas, the West Virginia can be converted for propulsion by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Anne Swearingen, wife of John Swearingen, senior vice president, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, performed the timehonored tradition of christening the vessel by breaking a ceremonial bottle of champagne across the West Virginia’s hull. Marathon Petroleum will utilize the tanker under a longterm charter.
“Today represents a banner day for our company, Marathon Petroleum and Philly Shipyard as we welcome the West Virginia to our tanker fleet,” said Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO of Crowley Maritime. “The christening of this vessel, along with its sister ships, represents the best of the U.S. maritime industry – from the men and women who built her to the men and women who will operate her with great safety, integrity and high performance.”
The new tankers are based on a proven Hyundai Mipo Dockyards (HMD) design that incorporates numerous fuel efficiency features, flexible cargo capability and the latest regulatory requirements. At 600 feet long, the West Virginia is 50,000 deadweight tons (dwt) and capable of carrying 330,000 barrels of product. The tanker can transport crude oil or refined petroleum products, as well as various chemical cargoes.
When the ship was delivered the week before the christening, Crowley’s Rob Grune, senior vice president and general manager, petroleum services, stated, “The delivery of the West Virginia represents our total commitment at Crowley to providing the best performance for our customers with efficiency and innovative solutions. The completion of West Virginia and its sister ships demonstrates our belief in the Jones Act trade, and our commitment to supporting our economy through U.S. shipbuilding and crewing. We congratulate Philly Shipyard for reaching this milestone, as well as the dedicated, hard-working men and women who build and crew these ships.”
Said Philly Shipyard’s President and CEO Steinar Nerbovik, “Today’s delivery marks the successful completion of a four-tanker series for Crowley. We have appreciated a strong partnership with Crowley, stemming from the previous two Crowley tankers delivered in both 2012 and 2013, and today are proud to add these four safe and quality vessels to its growing fleet. On behalf of the men and women at the shipyard, we send our well wishes to the dedicated crew that will operate the West Virginia.”
The ship’s first SIU crew included Recertified Bosun Hanapiah Ismail, ABs Gil Acapulco, Mapalana Gamage, Juberto Perez, Robert Surette and Wilson Trayvilla, QEP Scott Fuller, Oiler Kyle Miller, OMU Terrance Jackson, Recertified Steward Milton Yournett, Cook/Baker Shantay Joquin and SA Marvin Davis.
The Jones Act has helped boost America’s economic, national and homeland security since it was enacted in 1920 as part of the Merchant Marine Act. The nation’s freight cabotage law requires that cargo moving between domestic ports is carried on vessels that are crewed, flagged, built and owned American.
According to a detailed study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Jones Act helps maintain nearly 500,000 American jobs while contributing billions of dollars each year to the economy. With that in mind, perhaps it is not surprising that the law always has enjoyed strong bipartisan support and the backing of every administration.
Moreover, high-ranking U.S. military officials in recent years have been outspoken proponents of the Jones Act. The law helps maintain a pool of well-trained, reliable, U.S. citizen mariners and also is vital to sustaining the nation’s shipbuilding capability.
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