September 6, 2006
Maritrans orders three 335,000 bbl ATB's from Bender
Maritrans Inc. (NYSE:TUG) today announced that it has signed a contract with Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co., Inc. to build three new articulated tug-barge units, each having a carrying capacity of 335,000 barrels. Each barge will be connected to a 12,000 horsepower tug boat utilizing the latest version of the Intercon connection system.
Maritrans also announced that it has signed a long-term volume contract for lightering services with Sunoco Inc. (R&M). Maritrans estimates that approximately 70 percent of the annual total barrels lightered by the company will be fulfilled through the Sunoco contract, while the remaining volume will be delivered to other Maritrans lightering customers on the Delaware River.
Construction of the three new vessels will take place at both the Bender Shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama and at its affiliated company,Tampa Bay Shipbuilding & Repair Company, in Tampa, Florida.
Maritrans estimates that the total cost of construction, including owner furnished equipment, will be approximately $77.5 million for each tug-barge unit. Maritrans expects to take delivery of the first unit in October of 2007, with the remaining two vessels expected to be delivered seven months apart in May and December of 2008, respectively.
With the addition of the three units, Maritrans will become not only the largest owner/operator of vessels in its class size, but will also be the largest tug and barge U.S. coastwise operator based on carrying capacity.
Maritrans CEO Jonathan Whitworth commented, "We are extremely pleased to announce that Maritrans is building three of the largest and most modern tug-barge units in the Jones Act fleet and entering into a long-term contract with Sunoco. Today's announcements not only demonstrate our commitment to execute on our strategic growth initiatives outlined earlier in the year, but they also strengthen our relationship with two important strategic partners, Sunoco and Bender Shipbuilding, while positioning the company to take advantage of strong long-term lightering demand in the Delaware Bay region. Going forward, we will remain steadfast in our approach to seeking growth opportunities that adhere to our strict return requirements for the benefit of our shareholders. At the same time, we will continue to focus on providing our customers with superior service that meets the highest safety and environmental standards."