An ice-class articulated tug-barge combo has been ordered to transport clean fuel products to sea and river terminals in Alaska
Crowley Fuels has ordered an articulated tug-barge (ATB) unit to expand its western Alaska operations.
The new tugboat will be built in Alabama, US, by Master Boat Builders of Bayou La Batre.
Greenbrier Co subsidiary Gunderson Marine will build the 125-m barge with capacity to transport 55,000 barrels of clean fuel products, in Portland, Oregon. The ATB is expected to be delivered in January 2021.
Crowley Maritime Corp’s subsidiary Jensen Maritime designed the ATB for safe and reliable fuel delivery services during the open-water season in Alaska.
However, the ATB will meet all ABS ice class and IMO Polar Code requirements for operating in adverse weather and sea conditions.
“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 Crowley Fuels vice president and general manager Rick Meidel.
“The vessel’s capabilities will be able to meet the particular needs of western Alaska, which depends on manoeuvrable and functional vessels to reliably supply the communities’ fuel needs.”
With this ATB, the bow of the tug will be connected to a notch in the stern of the barge by a hinged connection, an Intercon C-series coupler system, allowing the two vessels to work as one unit.
The tug and barge are designed with a shallow operating draught to access several Alaska river terminals with limited water depths.
For ice class, the ATB features increased structural framing and shell plating and it will have equipment for nearshore ship-to-ship cargo transfers.
The tug will be fitted with two GE 6L250 main engines that comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 emissions standards.
These will drive azimuthing stern drives to enhance manoeuvrability. There will also be an azimuthing pump jet bow thruster on the barge to provide station keeping capabilities.
This ATB will be equipped for emergency response with off-ship fire-fighting equipment on the barge, and a fire monitor and foam proportioner on the tug. The ATB will also have spill response gear, including 610 m of boom and a work skiff to meet State of Alaska requirements.
Crowley’s project management group will provide plan review, on-site construction management in the shipyards, and will work with Crowley Fuels to transition the vessel into service.
Crowley will soon add another ATB to its fleet as Bollinger Shipyards finishes constructing a barge with storage capacity for 100,000 barrels of fuel. This ATB will be chartered by Arctic Slope Regional Corp subsidiary Petro Star in Alaska when it enters service.