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Marine Log

CROWLEY 330 BBL ATB

September 27, 2007

Crowley orders 330,000 bbl ATB's

Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Vessel Management Services subsidiary has signed a contract with VT Halter Marine Inc. and Dakota Creek Shipyards to build three articulated tug-barge (ATB), 330,000-barrel tank vessels, the largest in the company’s history and the fastest in their class. The new vessels will be delivered in yearly intervals between the second half of 2011 and the first half of 2013. VT Halter Marine will construct the barges, which will have 78 percent more capacity than Crowley’s 650-class vessels (185,000 – barrel capacity) in its shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Dakota Creek will build the 16,320-horsepower tugs in its Anacortes, Wash., shipyard.

"These ATBs are being constructed to be some of the largest and certainly the fastest in the trade,” said Steve Collar, senior vice president and general manager, Technical Services. “Not only will they be able to carry 330,000-barrels of product safely, but we also expect them to do so quickly-- to the tune of 15.1 knots.”

The new ATB's will feature the latest systems technology and double-hull construction for maximum safety and reliability. Not only will the units have the capability of transporting refined products, but they will also be able to carry heated cargoes. The tug will be one of the first of its kind built to ABS R2 classification which provides a higher level of redundancy than found on a standard product tanker or ATB. There will be a bulkhead dividing the port and starboard engine rooms, allowing the vessel to continue to operate on one engine in the event of a catastrophic incident such as a fire in the other engine room.

The tugs meet all SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) and ABS criteria, and have a foam capable fire monitor; twin screw Wartsila electronically controlled engines generating a total of 16,320 horsepower; a noise reduction package and other upgrades to increase crew comfort.

The three 330,000-barrel tank barges are valued at approximately $254 million, which includes the cost of owner-furnished equipment.

VT Halter Marine currently has three contracts with Vessel Management Services Inc. to build the tugs and 185,000-barrel barges for 10 Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) units, at a total value of approximately $515 million. This latest contract will bring the total contractual value with Vessel Management Services to $769 million.

The 330,000-barrel tank barges for today's contract are similar to the 185,000-barrel barges being built at VT Halter Marine, but they will have about 78 percent more cargo handling capacity. When completed, they will be operated in the U.S .coastwise trade by Crowley Maritime's petroleum services segment.

There will be an electrically driven cargo pump in each of the 14 cargo tanks and two slop tanks to assure maximum cargo integrity and segregation flexibility; two anchor windlasses and associated equipment to enable the vessel to accommodate offshore mooring operations, and a vacuum system with three retention tanks to easily handle cargo changes. There will also be a dual mode inert gas system and vapor collection system for maximum safety. 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.

Recent facility improvements, including the extension of the launch system, have enabled the VT Halter Marine to accommodate vessels up to Panamax in size, thereby meeting the rising demand for vessels with higher cargo capacity and deep water capability.

The 330,000-barrel tank barge project will follow after VT Halter Marine delivers the 10 ATB units previously contracted. Engineering for the project is scheduled to start in the first half of 2008. Construction of the first tank barge will begin in the first half of 2009, with proposed deliveries beginning in the second half of 2011 and ending in 2H2013.

The tank barges will measure about 600 feet long and 105.5 feet wide, with a depth of about 54 feet. Cargo capacity is 330,000-barrels, with deadweight of 45,000 tonnes. Besides the capability to transport refined products, the barges can also carry heated cargoes. The barges will feature the latest systems technology and double hull construction for maximum safety and reliability.

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