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June 1, 2005

Marine Transport charters newbuild ATB to ConocoPhillips

Marine Transport Corporation, a Crowley Maritime Corporation subsidiary, recently reached a three-year agreement with ConocoPhillips to charter a new 185,000-barrel articulated tug-barge (ATB) tank vessel currently under construction at VT Halter Marine Mississippi and scheduled for delivery in February 2006.

The new ATB, which will be comprised of the tug Pacific Reliance and the double hulled barge 650-1 is capable of carrying refined products, carry heated cargoes and easy (non-specialty) chemicals. This require special arrangements of vents, stripping systems, pump components and tank coatings not required of product carriers.

"ConocoPhillips is pleased to be the first company to commit to using this new class of double-hull articulated tug barges," said Antonio Valdes, general manager for ConocoPhillips' marine division. "The new ATB will enhance our existing fleet of double-hull vessels and provide another option for safely moving clean fuel products from our Gulf Coast refineries to markets on both the U.S. east and west coasts."

"We are delighted that ConocoPhillips has agreed to charter the ATB 650-1, said Steve Collar, vice president of chartering for Marine Transport. "Our customers today expect nothing less than the use of best available technology when it comes to the design of new innovative vessels to meet their transportation requirements. This class of ATB raises the bar to a new level in terms of reliability, cargo flexibility and environmental friendliness."

The ATB Pacific Reliance/barge 650-1 is one of two such vessels Crowley has under construction at VT Halter Marine in Mississippi. The second, identical unit is scheduled for delivery in August 2006. They were primarily designed and will be owned by Vessel Management Services, a Crowley subsidiary and part of its corporate services segment. Vessel Management Services provides technical project support services involving naval architecture and marine engineering, contracting, on-site representation for ship, tug and barge construction and ownership of new vessels for the parent company. In 2002 and 2003, the company delivered four new 155,000-barrel ATBs to Marine Transport, all of which are chartered and operating on the U.S. West Coast.

As with all of Crowley's ATBs, barge 650-1 is being built under the ABS SafeHull program for maximum environmental protection.

The 650-Class barge will be 27,000 deadweight tons, 587 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth and 40 feet in depth. Its fully loaded draft is 30 feet.

There is a cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks; two anchor windlasses, each equipped with 10 shots of chain for offshore mooring operations, and a vacuum system with three retention tanks to easily handle cargo changes. There is also a dual mode inert gas system and vapor collection system for maximum safety. A layer of inert gas covers products in the tanks to make the atmosphere too lean for combustion. An enhanced mooring system features 1,000-foot Spectra-type lines on split drums with a high-speed recovery rate of 100 feet per minute.

The tug Pacific Reliance meets all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria, and will have a foam capable fire monitor; twin fuel efficient, reduced emission electronic diesel engines; a noise reduction package and other upgrades to increase crew comfort. The communication and navigation equipment is among the most technologically advanced in the industry today. The tug will be virtually identical to the four currently deployed with 550-series barges on the West Coast, all of which have performed very well in all types of seas and weather conditions.

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