OCTOBER 31, 2012—The first of four Crowley Maritime Corporation ocean class tugboats, Ocean Wave, completed its inaugural project earlier this month by removing a grounded containership from the northern coast of Cuba. The job is additionally significant because it utilized many of Crowley’s unique capabilities, equipment and established relationships with Cuban entities and government to complete the job quickly despite many challenges.
Earlier, we reported on the christening of the Ocean Wave and sister tug, the Ocean Wind, in the Port of New Orleans.
The project’s success hinged on a coordinated and timely response from Antilliana De Salvemento, the Cuban salvage company which subcontracted TITAN Salvage, Crowley’s Pompano, FL-based emergency response, marine salvage and wreck removal company, and Houston-based T&T Marine Salvage, to assist with the removal of the stricken containership.
Other key team members included Crowley’s solutions group, the company’s Houston-based Project Management Organization (PMOrg), which manages the ocean class vessels; Crowley’s government services team, which has developed strong relationships with Cuban government officials and has obtained several licenses from the U.S. government for marine disaster response in Cuban waters; the Marine Response Alliance (MRA), an association of emergency responders organized to provide ship owners trading in the U.S. with salvage marine fire-fighting services and emergency towing; and the Marine Pollution Control, MRA’s lightering service partner and oil pollution prevention company, which provided specialized equipment and personnel to ensure the success of the job. TITAN, Crowley and Marine Pollution Control are founders and partners of the MRA.
The containership was en route from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, Cuba, when it came ashore after losing power during Tropical Storm Isaac in late August. Following the grounding, TITAN’s salvage master was on scene in less than 24 hours, Crowley’s government services team worked with U.S. and Cuban authorities to complete all necessary Customs documentation in advance, and the solutions team readied the Ocean Wave for the 48-hour transit from Orange, Texas, to the site of the project in Cuba.
The stricken vessel, towed by the Ocean Wave, was successfully removed from the coastline and delivered to port in Havana, Cuba, in early October.
“This successful project is a testament to the power of Crowley’s total capabilities,” said the company’s Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager, technical services. “We leveraged many of our unique company assets—such as the Ocean Wave—our collective experience, and our long-standing relationships with the Cuban authorities and Antilliana De Salvemento to complete a challenging job quickly in a location where many others would be unable to work. Not only were we able to work as a team, but we performed the job quickly and without harm to the environment or any people. It was an excellent example of what Crowley can do in emergency response situations, in some of the most challenging locations in the world.”