JULY 25, 2014 — Crowley Maritime Corp. christened the third of four tugboats in the ocean class series – Ocean Sky – today in Houston. The ceremony served to formally welcome the third dynamic positioning (DP) tugboat to the company's expanded ocean towing fleet, which has been involved in most of the major offshore oil production installations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico over the past 16 months.
Todd Busch, senior vice president and general manager of Crowley's solutions group, opened the ceremony to approximately 140 guests. He was followed by a series of speakers including Joe Huley, vice president, NC Power Systems, and Bruce Greshman, vice president, Heerema Marine Contractors, a Crowley customer, who spoke about the 20-year relationship the two companies have enjoyed – a relationship, he remarked was based on "mutual trust, cooperation and responsibility to achieve the same goals."
Following an introduction of the tug's crew members and a blessing of the vessel by Father Sinclair Oubre, Jennifer Legg, Crowley's assistant treasurer and vessel sponsor, broke the ceremonial bottle of champagne across the hull of the boat.
Shell, Anadarko and Chevron, all of whom have contracted the ocean class vessels for service also had representatives in attendance as did Congressman Gene Green's office and the area's port commission.
The Ocean Sky, which features DP2 technology, is one of s four-vessel family of tugs suited to work with Crowley's new 455 series high-deck strength barges, which measure 400 feet long by 105 feet wide (121.92 meters by 32 meters). Crowley's ocean class tugs are outfitted for long-range, high-capacity ocean towing; rig moves; platform and floating production; storage and offloading (FPSO) unit tows; emergency response and firefighting.
All four of the ocean class tugboats, which are built by Bollinger Shipyards, are designed to have a minimum bollard pull of 150 metric tons and a range of approximately 12,600 nautical miles at 15 knots free running. They are outfitted with twin-screw, controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles and high lift rudders for a combination of performance and fuel economy.
"While today served as a formal ceremony to welcome this vessel to service, truth is, it has been busy tending to the needs of our offshore energy partners since its hull touched the water ready for service last year," said John Ara, vice president, Crowley. "All four of these dynamic positioning vessels along with their safe, well-trained crews have been in high demand and have performed reliably across the board for our diverse energy customers doing business in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico."
During the first ever pairing of all four ocean class tugs – Ocean Wave, Ocean Wind, Ocean Sky and Ocean Sun worked together to tow the largest offshore oil production and drilling platform of its kind ever to be built for use in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the 120,000 ton TLP Olympus for 425-miles from Ingleside, Texas to her final location in more than 3,000 feet of water. Later the quad towed, moored and made storm safe the Jack/St. Malo topside at a depth of 7,000 feet and are scheduled to team again for movement of Delta House floating production platform and Chevron's TLP Bigfoot in the coming months.
The fourth and last planned vessel in the series, Ocean Sun, is slated for formal christening in Lake Charles, La., during mid-August by Coreen Busch, wife of Todd Busch.