Crowley Orders 55,000-Barrel ATB for Western Alaska Operations

crowley 55k ATB Structural
Illustration courtesy Crowley Maritime Corporation/Jensen Maritime

Crowley Fuels has signed construction contracts to build a 55,000-barrel, articulated tug-barge (ATB) to serve the Western Alaska market.

Crowley says the 410-foot ATB will be specially designed for the demanding river and sea conditions of Western Alaska.

The tug will be constructed by Master Boat Builders of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. The 350-foot barge will be built by Gunderson Marine LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Greenbrier Companies, in Portland, Oregon.

The ATB is expected to be delivered in January 2021.

The design of the ATB was done by Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary Jensen Maritime, a Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering firm. According to Crowley, the vessel will meet all ABS Ice Class and IMO Polar Code requirements, with features that include increased structural framing, shell plating, and extended zero-discharge endurance. The tug and barge are designed with a shallow operating draft to allow the vessel to serve several Alaska river terminals with limited water depths. It will feature the capability to perform nearshore ship-to-ship cargo transfers.

The tug portion will be fitted with two GE 6L250 main engines that meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier IV environmental standards. The tug has azimuthing stern drives to enhance maneuverability, and an Intercon C-series coupler system. As for the barge itself, it will be fitted with an azimuthing pump jet bow thruster for better maneuverability and station keeping capability.

The tug will be equipped with a fire monitor and foam proportioner for off-ship firefighting to the barge. It will also include a full complement of spill response gear, including 2,000 feet of boom and a work skiff to meet State of Alaska requirements.

“Our new ATB will continue Crowley Fuels’ long-standing commitment to provide Alaska with safe and dependable marine transportation to serve the energy needs of the state,” said Rick Meidel, vice president and general manager, Crowley Fuels. “We look forward to working with Gunderson Marine and Master Boat Builders to build both a high-performing and efficient vessel to serve the state and enhance our overall operations. The vessel’s capabilities will be able to meet the particular needs of Western Alaska, which depends on maneuverable and functional vessels for reliable supply of the communities’ fuel needs.”

Crowley currently operates and manages the largest U.S.-flag petroleum and chemical tank vessel fleet in the U.S., including 40 Jones Act-qualified, large petroleum tankers with a combined capacity of more than 12 million barrels.

The new ATB will join Crowley’s new 100,000-barrel ATB, which is now finishing construction at Bollinger Shipyards, for service under charter in Alaska to Petro Star Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC).