780 AM | 96.1 FM | “Yours for Western Alaska”

Crowley Commissions First Barge of Its Size and Class To Be Built for Alaskan Waters by End of 2019

New ATB to be constructed for Alaskan waters. Crowley expects it to begin deliveries in late 2019. Photo: Used with permission from Crowley Fuels (2018)

Crowley Fuels LLC announced this week they are contracting to build a new vessel, with a 100,000 barrel capacity, to deliver petroleum products in Alaskan waters within the next two years.

Rocky Smith, the senior vice president with Crowley Fuels, says this 483-foot-long, articulated tug-barge (ATB), is the first of its kind in the company’s Alaska fleet.

“And we have larger vessels than this in the ATB class. We also operate other barges and for many years have operated barges of all sizes in Alaska. So this 100,000-barrel size and class for Alaska, was really designed and conceived based on our customer request, and their requirements, and our extensive knowledge of what it takes to operate successfully in the Alaska theater.”

Even though this particular ice-class ATB won’t be dealing with much of Western Alaska’s icy waters, Smith says it is designed to handle ice in places like Cook Inlet, and the vessel meets all national or international requirements.

“So, for example, the emissions from the engines, both the main engines and the pump engines on the barge, or the generator engines on the barge, are all ETA-Tier-4-compliant engines. So there are very few of those vessels existing, and those requirements have just gone into place here in the last year or so. So they have very clean emissions, in terms of their air emissions. These are Ice-Class barges; they will comply with the Polar Code.”

When it comes to the business side of things, this new Crowley vessel will mostly deliver and contract with Petro Star, Inc., a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). As a sign of appreciation for the fuel company’s decades-long relationship with ASRC, Smith says Crowley let the Native Corporation make an important decision regarding the new ATB.

“So we wanted to give them the privilege of naming the tug and the barge, and they were the ones who chose Oliver Leavitt for the name of the tug.”

The barge will share its name with ASRC’s former chairman and current member of the corporation’s board of directors, Oliver Leavitt. And Leavitt’s Inupiaq name will be given to the tug onboard, Aveogan.

In a press release, ASRC’s president and CEO, Rex A. Rock, Sr., expressed his gratitude by stating, “we’re honored Crowley has chosen to name the barge after one of the Corporation’s early leaders.”

The Alaska-class vessel will be built at Bollinger’s Marine Fabricators Shipyard in Louisiana and could be sailing through Alaskan waters during the fourth quarter of 2019. Smith also expects that ASRC will be able to christen the vessel around that time.

Image at top: An artist’s rendering of the new ATB to be constructed for Alaskan waters. Crowley expects it to begin deliveries in late 2019. Photo: used with permission from Crowley Fuels (2018).