Crowley Fuels LLC announces that it has signed a construction contract with Bollinger Shipyards to build a new Alaska Class 100,000-barrel-capacity articulated tug-barge (ATB) to transport multiple clean petroleum products in the Alaska market.

The Alaska-class vessel will be built at Bollinger Marine Fabricators Shipyard, in Amelia, La., with an expected delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019. The contract with Bollinger includes an option to build a second ATB. Crowley’s marine solutions group has been contracted to provide vessel construction management services in the shipyard from final design phase through to delivery.

Once built and deployed, Crowley will operate the ATB under a long-term charter with Alaska-based Petro Star Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). The charter extends Crowley’s long partnership with ASRC, which dates back four decades to ASRC’s earliest days.

“While Crowley has operated ATBs in Alaska in the past, this will be the first ATB of its size and class that will be dedicated to the Alaska market,” said Rocky Smith, Crowley Fuels' senior vice president and general manager. “The vessel’s capabilities make it ideal to serve the market with the safe and reliable service Crowley has built its reputation on. We look forward to working with our partners at Bollinger to deliver a world-class ATB to this region.”

The barge will be named Oliver Leavitt, in honor of ASRC’s former chairman and current member of the corporation’s board of directors, with the tug sporting the name Aveogan, Leavitt’s Iñupiat name.

“We’re honored Crowley has chosen to name the barge after one of the Corporation’s early leaders,” said Rex A. Rock Sr., ASRC president and CEO. “Crowley continues to be a vital partner and we look forward to commissioning this new ATB as an integral part of our transportation network as we deliver fuels throughout Alaska.”

Jensen Maritime, Crowley’s Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering subsidiary, designed the 483-foot ATB to meet Ice Class and Polar Code requirements including increased structural framing and shell plating and extended zero discharge endurance. It also features a ship-shape bow to enhance its ability to maneuver in icy conditions.

Other design innovations include a barge form factor to achieve high-cargo capacity on minimal draft.

The tug has Azimuthing drives to enhance maneuverability, and an Intercon C-series coupling system with a first-of-its-kind lightering helmet and barge ladder wave design. The tug is equipped with fire monitors and foam proportioner, providing off-ship firefighting capabilities to the barge.

The tug’s main GE engines, as well as the barge engines, meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier IV environmental standards for emissions-reducing performance requirements.

The barge features a ballast water treatment system, also meeting the latest requirements. The ATB tug is fitted with a patent-pending closed-loop ballast system, whereby the tug’s freshwater ballast is transferred to a retention tank on the barge. There is no ballast water treatment system on the tug, eliminating any overboard discharge of ballast from the tug.

The barge features deep-well pumps in each cargo tank, as well as all-electric deck machinery to reduce the risk of hydraulic spills. The barge is also outfitted with spill response gear and two hydraulic boom reels with inflatable booms to support spill response efforts.

The ATB was designed under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and it will be classed with the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). The vessel will be built with enhanced features to benefit the crew, including 45-degree sloped staircases, interior sound deadening and staterooms with bathrooms.

Crowley operates and manages the largest U.S.-flag petroleum and chemical tank vessel fleet in the country, including 37 Jones Act qualified large petroleum transportation vessels with a combined capacity of more than 10 million barrels.

To learn more about Crowley’s petroleum distribution business in Alaska, click here.

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