Crowley Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) is Largest to Ever Transit Alaskan Waters

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska; December 15, 2009) Crowley’s petroleum transportation group recently made history, as its 155,000-barrel ATB, Sea Reliance/550-1, became the largest of its kind to have ever transited Alaskan waters. Under the watchful command of Capt. Scott Murdock, Sea Reliance/550-1 completed a voyage from Martinez, Calif., to Anchorage, Alaska carrying a full load of jet fuel. The journey, which occurred without incident, was met with several weather concerns because of an early start to the winter storm season.

Although other small cargo ATBs have traveled in Alaska, nothing has rivaled the size of the Sea Reliance/550-1, which measures over 600 feet in length. The ATB can make 12 knots and the sophisticated connection between the tug and barge enables it to move fluidly as one unit in the most adverse seas, thereby providing increased service reliability, not achievable with a conventional tug and barge.

“The top priority of this voyage, which was achieved, was to arrive safely with no compromise to our crew, the customer cargo or the vessel,” said Capt. Mark Homeyer, director of marine operations for Crowley. The Sea Reliance was manned by two captains with 50 years of combined sailing experience. Capt. Scott Murdock served as the primary captain, while Capt. Bill Bart served as the company pilot. “As one of the pilots on the Sea Reliance/550-1 during both the inbound and outbound legs, I would like to express my admiration for the skill of the captain and crew, and for the maneuverability of the vessel in ice,” said Capt. Mike “MJ’ O’Hara, a marine pilot with Southwest Alaska Pilot’s Association. In order to avoid the most extreme seas, the vessel transited through the “inside passage” from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Cook Inlet and on to Anchorage for final discharge.

Together, Crowley’s ATB fleet has moved hundred of millions of barrels of clean petroleum products with zero spills since the vessels entered service in 2002. All of Crowley’s ATBs are built under the ABS SafeHull program for environmental protection. This program places the vessel design through an exhaustive review to identify structural loads.

Jacksonville-based Crowley Holdings Inc., a holding company of the 117-year-old Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a privately held family and employee-owned company. The company provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of six operating lines of business: Puerto Rico/Caribbean Liner Services, Latin America Liner Services, Logistics Services, Petroleum Services, Marine Services and Technical Services. Offered within these operating lines of business are the following services: liner container shipping, logistics, contract towing and transportation; ship assist and escort; energy support; salvage and emergency response through its TITAN Salvage subsidiary; vessel management; vessel construction and naval architecture through its Jensen Maritime subsidiary; government services, and petroleum and chemical transportation, distribution and sales. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at

By Professional Mariner Staff