A recent influx of new tonnage – and a plan to revitalize an older ship – signals ongoing job security for SIU members.
Among the recent developments are flag-ins of the SLNC Star (Chesapeake Crewing) and the Allied Pacific (Patriot), purchase of the Alaskan Frontier by Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG), and the impending additions of the Cape Sable and Cape San Juan (Crowley) into the Ready Reserve Force (RRF).
The SLNC Star, a heavy-lift ship, is the replacement for the Corsica. Built in 2010 in Poland, the vessel is 403 feet long and can sail at 15 knots. The SLNC Star is equipped with two cranes, and formerly was named Breb Star.
Meanwhile, the SIU represents steward-department personnel aboard the tanker Allied Pacific, also built in 2010 (in South Korea). Previously sailing as the Celsius Riga, the 600-foot-long ship supports Military Sealift Command operations in Hawaii under a five-year agreement (including options). It can sail at 16 knots.
In mid-October, OSG announced its purchase of the Alaskan Frontier, a sister vessel to three other Alaskan- Class SIU-crewed tankers operated by OSG’s wholly owned subsidiary, Alaskan Tanker Company. Following the expected early November completion of the transaction, OSG intends to reactivate the 1.3-million-barrel-capacity tanker, which has been in cold layup in Malaysia since 2019. OSG plans to make significant investments in the vessel for it to begin commercial trade by the fourth quarter of 2024.
“The purchase of the Alaskan Frontier brings all four of the Alaska-Class crude oil tankers under OSG’s ownership at a time when the prospect for expanded crude oil production in Alaska offers great promise for continued and increasing demand for ships of her type,” said OSG President and CEO Sam Norton. “Upon completion of shipyard work, which will include lifecycle upgrades on the engines that will improve the performance and longevity of the vessel, we believe that the Alaskan Frontier will be primed to provide additional transportation capacity to suit the needs of our customers in a time of limited availability.”
He added, “The full scope of reactivation work is expected to require a period of approximately one year and will, in addition to the engine upgrades, entail a ballast water treatment system installation and other improvements to prepare her for commercial use.”
In a news release announcing the purchase, OSG noted, “The engine upgrades for the Alaskan Frontier are considered a lifecycle upgrade, which will be completed by MAN Energy Solutions SE. This comprehensive modernization of each of the four engines onboard will improve performance and fuel efficiency and also prepare the engines for possible methanol fuel in the future. It is expected that the fuel efficiency gain will result in 15-20% fuel savings as compared to the vessel’s current consumption, leading to a meaningful reduction in carbon output. The significant capital investment being made will permit the Company to operate the vessel for a longer period of time and with fewer maintenance costs for its remaining life.”
The Alaskan Frontier was built in 2004 by General Dynamics NASSCO (a union shipyard). It is 938 feet long and can sail at almost 19 knots.
Finally, the roll-on/roll-off vessels Cape Sable and Cape San Juan are part of a recapitalization of the RRF. The 784-foot-long Cape Sable (formerly the Linea Messina) was built in 2013 in South Korea and can sail at nearly 19 knots. The Cape San Juan (Jolly Cristallo), built in 2012, also in South Korea, is 787 feet long and can sail at 21.5 knots.