Crowley Christens First Ocean Class Tugs

An Ocean Class tug. Photo: Crowley

Crowley Maritime Corp. on Thursday christened the first two of four tugboats in the ocean class series, Ocean Wave and Ocean Wind, during a ceremony in New Orleans, La.

Ray Martus, Trish Martus, Christine Crowley and Tom Crowley. Photo: Crowley

On hand at the ceremony were vessel sponsors Christine Crowley, wife of Tom Crowley, chairman president and CEO, and Trish Martus, wife of Ray Martus, new construction director for Crowley subsidiary Jensen Maritime, who performed the time-honored tradition of christening the vessels. The ceremony was also attended by more than 250 guests, including friends and employees from Crowley and representatives from Bollinger Shipyard, of Amelia, La., where the vessels were constructed.

Crowley says that the launch of the new Ocean class of tugboats, which also includes Ocean Sun and Ocean Sky, further solidifies the company’s standing as an industry leader in ocean towing, salvage and offshore marine support for the upstream energy industry. The tugs are ideally suited to work with Crowley’s new 455 series high-deck strength barges, which measure 400 feet long by 105 feet wide (121.92 meters by 32 meters), and will be outfitted for long-range, high-capacity ocean towing, rig moves, platform and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit tows, emergency response and firefighting.

Both the Ocean Wave and Ocean Wind are scheduled to begin work this year in the U.S. Gulf for a major customer in the global oil and gas industry.

“We are raising the bar in terms of reliability, power and environmental friendliness with the addition of these tugboats,” said Crowley. “These new boats will be workhorses for our valued upstream energy customers and for companies and government entities needing long-range, high-capacity, ocean towing along with salvage and emergency response support. The investments we are making will serve the needs of these customers for many years to come.”

“We are thrilled to take delivery of these state-of-the-art tugboats and to be able to put them to work for major customers in the global oil and gas industry,” said Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager, technical services. “Our customers today expect best available technology, safety and cost effectiveness when it comes to the design and operation of innovative new vessels to meet their transportation requirements and that’s just what we are providing them.”

These next generation tugs are 146 (Ocean Wave and Wind) and 156 (Ocean Sun and Sky) feet long, 44 feet wide and have a draft of 21 feet. They are designed to have a minimum bollard pull of 150 metric tons, and range for the vessels will be approximately 12,600 nautical miles at 15 knots free running. They will be outfitted with twin-screw, controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles and high lift rudders for a combination of performance and fuel economy.

The tugs also feature dynamic positioning technology (DP-1 and DP-2), Caterpillar-supplied main engines and generators that are all EPA Tier II compliant and can be upgraded to meet future environmental standards for cleaner emissions. Additional environmental protection is provided by the tugs’ double-hulls, which are designed to prevent any overboard discharges of fuel or fluids.

Safety is of paramount importance the new Ocean class. The newly designed tugs will feature waterfall style winches, shark jaws and retractable pins that can all be controlled from the pilothouse, keeping the deck clear of personnel and reducing the risk of accidents. The tug design also features ergonomic accommodations and comforts proven to minimize fatigue and reduce injuries amongst crew.

“We are continuing to make the investments necessary to address the needs of our customers for best-in-class, modern and environmentally friendly equipment,” said Busch. “Crowley and Jensen have always been industry leaders in tug design, technology and performance, and these new vessels are a reflection of our continued commitment to that. Moreover, they will provide our crews with ergonomic accommodations and comforts needed to minimize fatigue and injuries.”

The boats will hold Green Passports, which inventory materials present in a vessel’s structure, systems and equipment that may be hazardous to health or the environment. The Green Passport is regularly updated and maintained and is eventually passed by the owner to the vessel recycling yard at the end of the ship’s life, to enable the yard to formulate a safe and environmentally sound way of breaking the vessel.

The tugs will meet all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria including ABS Fi-Fi 1 firefighting standards, and will have the capability to support salvage and rescue towing opportunities, as well as the U.S. Navy’s SUPSALV Contract.

Other vessels in Crowley’s industry-leading build program include the recently completed tenth and final 650 class articulated tug barge tank vessel (ATB) and three new 750 class ATBs, the Legacy/750-1, Legend/750-2 and Liberty/750-3. Crowley has invested more than $1 billion in new tugs, high-capacity barges and ATBs as part of this program.

The remaining Ocean class vessels are being constructed at Bollinger Marine Fabricators, LLC, in Amelia, La., and are scheduled for delivery in 2013.