Hornblower to offer former spill response vessels for new roles

Written by Nick Blenkey
Blue hulled response vessel

California Responder (above) has now been renamed Seaward Explorer

Two former spill response vessels have been acquired by Hornblower Group, which is to offer them for charter as multipurpose supply vessels through its Seaward Services Inc. subsidiary.

Now named the Seaward Explorer and Seaward Endeavor (previously the California Responder and Pacific Responder) the vessels were built at the VT Halter Marine shipyard and delivered in 1992 and 1993 respectively to the Marine Spill Response Company (MSRC). They have since operated strictly under the ownership of MSRC, fulfilling their mission as prepositioned oil spill response assets.

Seaward Services’ acquisition of both vessels is described as “the first endeavor to leverage the full capabilities of this class of former spill response vessels to serve as multipurpose supply vessels (MPSV) in a variety of commercial operations.”


“As we continue to position Hornblower as a global leader in experiences and transportation and expand our portfolio of client service offerings within the maritime industry, we are proud to be the first company to take this class of multi-purpose supply vessels like the Seaward Explorer and the Seaward Endeavor and offer them to clients for commercial use,” said Scott Thornton, chief operating officer, Ferries and Transportation Division, Hornblower Group. “Offering these two dynamic and operationally versatile vessels for client use practically anywhere is a first for us and is a testament to work of our incredible Seaward Services team.”

At 208 feet in length, the ABS classed Subchapter D and Subchapter I former spill response vessels will be available for uses including, but not limited to, offshore wind construction/berthing and operational support, emergency response, global expeditionary support, cargo and freight operations, and government and private maritime training activities.

The vessels are each equipped with:

  • Command & Control Room workspaces and offices with enhanced berthing for up to 38 persons. Expanded personnel capabilities upwards of 50 individuals for short-duration operations.
  • Launch and recovery equipment for small craft, ROV, and towed-array operations, including two 20-ton cranes and three hydraulic deck winches rated to 5, 10, and 20 tons, respectively.
  • Two 6.5-meter Brunswick Impact 650 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) powered by 170 hp Volvo Penta outdrives included for charterer’s use.
  • A helicopter deck rated for Bell L206 and suitable for aerial drone support.
  • Deadweight capacity of 1,235 tons, with approximately 3,800 square feet of open deck space and an additional 900 square feet of covered deck space, equipped with Peck & Hale securing systems throughout.
  • 4,000 barrels of oil storage capacity across four tanks with each equipped with in-tank thermal oil heaters, Framo deepwell centrifugal pumps, and International Intershield 300V epoxy coatings.
  • Port and starboard oil transfer manifolds suitable for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore operations.
  • Towing bitt with hydraulic McElroy MC-21 capstan
  • A nautical range of 7,200 nautical miles, allowing for diverse global operations.

“The acquisition of these vessels signals a bright future for Seaward Services and our expanding operational footprint within the global maritime industry,” said John Keever, president, Seaward Services Inc. “I look forward to what’s ahead for our clients, particularly in the area of new technologies in offshore wind construction and operational support.”

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