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Marine Log

Crowley remote beach landing

January 22, 2008

Crowley completes challenging Angola assignment

Crowley Maritime Corporation's energy and marine services unit announced today that it has safely completed the tug-and-barge transportation and discharge and delivery of oversized cargo across a remote beach in Cabinda Province Angola, West Africa to the Cabinda Gas Plant.

In partnership with Chicago Bridge and Iron (CB&I) and Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (CABGOC), a wholly owned Chevron subsidiary, Crowley was contracted for the loading, marine transportation, discharging and delivery of oversize modules and support accessories to the Cabinda Gas Plant, which is about three miles from the beach landing point.

The fleet required for the sealift included large (400-foot by 100-foot) barges, powerful ocean going tugs, small lighter tugs to assist in the beaching operation and a myriad of support equipment.

The initial tug and barge departed Houston Sept. 14. The second and third tug and barge combinations sailed at staggered intervals thereafter, and the final pair of vessels left Houston Oct. 21.

The journey from Houston to Cabinda Province is over 6,600 nautical miles requiring approximately 40 days at sea. The transportation and discharge of all of the cargo from the four tug and barge tandems concluded Dec. 2.

Upon arrival at the beach in Cabinda Province, the Crowley team safely maneuvered the barges ashore, ballasting and anchoring each in position to avoid sub-sea pipelines in place nearby. To discharge the cargo from the barge, the team drew on previous remote beach landing experience in the Russian Far East and assembled a bridge from the barge to the beach using ramps and flexi-floats.

The Crowley multinational team at the job site consisted of 34 people from the United States, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Venezuela, the Ukraine, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. They worked 17,136 man hours without a lost time incident, setting offshore moorings, beaching barges, making roads, and providing heavy lift and land transportation services.

Cargo handled included a 120 foot long, 90 ton Deethanizer Column, containers, structural steel and three Motor Control Center (MCC) buildings. The largest MCC building measured 75 feet long by 25 feet wide and weighed 126 tons.

"We very much appreciate the opportunity to be of service to Chicago Bridge and Iron and Chevron," said Tom Crowley Jr., company chairman, president and CEO. "Our experienced, capable team worked very closely with their team to make sure we delivered their cargo safely and in accordance with their requirements."

"As energy companies go to the ends of the earth to find and extract oil and natural gas, Crowley's energy and marine services group is helping to make that possible," said John Douglass, Crowley senior vice president and general manager, Atlantic/Gulf region. "We're providing transportation, logistics, project management, marine consulting, and risk assessment services in some of the most challenging environments in the world. From the North Slope of Alaska to the Russian Far East to Africa to deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Crowley has been there and done that safely, with knowledgeable experts, high-horsepower oceangoing tugs, large heavy-lift, flat-deck barges and other specialty equipment."

In four of the past six years, Crowley has performed major open beach remote landings in three different locations in two countries for world-class Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors including CB&I, Bechtel Corp., Enka Construction & Industry Co., Inc., and ABB, all of whom provide a wide-range of services to major oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron.

Crowley can bring many resources to major projects.

"We have a core project management team that is very diverse in its ability and knowledge," said John Ara, Crowley's director of marine operations in the U.S. Gulf. "We have found that as project requirements change, we're able to draw from specialized personnel from all Crowley business groups, disciplines and locations to augment this team, which has proven very effective."

"Our project management team is flatly organized so that we can be responsive to our customers' needs and changes in scope and work," Ara said. "We place a great deal of emphasis on integrating our project management team with our customers to facilitate open communication. In fact, our senior project managers typically take an office in our customers' locations to become part of their teams."

Each remote beach landing project has its own challenges, which Crowley uses to innovate.

"We have found uses for equipment for means other than which they were designed," Ara said. "We've used flexi-floats to build dry bridges/causeways and outfitted heavy construction equipment like front-end loaders with forks for lifting and transporting cargo over difficult terrain."

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