Crowley Maritime Corporation’s Vessel Management Services subsidiary has awarded construction contracts to Gunderson Marine of Portland, Oregon for - in addition to two already under construction - eight Heavy Lift Series 400-foot by 105-foot-wide deck barges.
Once completed, these barges will handle project work for the offshore energy industry in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere and will expand Crowley’s fleet of this type barge to as many as 13 by 2012. Gunderson is the same company that built the first three barges in the series - the Marty J, 455-2 and 455-3 (now the Julie B)’ - all of which were delivered last year.
Under construction are barges 455-4 and 455-5, which are scheduled for delivery in the first and second quarters respectively. Four additional barges are contracted for delivery by 2010, and Crowley has the opportunity to build four more with Gunderson to be received through 2012.
“With energy companies seemingly going to the ends of the earth to find oil and natural gas, these new barges will help them get even their largest offshore structures there,” said John Douglass, Crowley’s senior vice president and general manager, Atlantic/Gulf region. “Crowley customers have shown great appreciation for the first three barges in this series and we want to continue to deliver for them with a further expansion of this valuable fleet.”
Crowley’s new Heavy Lift 455 Series 400-foot by 105-foot-wide barges with 25-foot side shells provide both the capacity and deck strength needed to accommodate the favored larger units for offshore exploration and development. The barges offer increased stability for loads up to 4,200 pounds per square foot in order to carry the larger offshore structures now being planned and engineered for deepwater projects. The barges are also suitable for use in other regions, including Alaska, where Crowley has regularly performed summer sealifts to the North Slope.
Crowley’s new barges will be classed by the American Bureau of Shipping and receive certification from the United States Coast Guard.
Earlier this year, the Julie B, formerly barge 455-3, was widened from105 feet to 130 feet to better serve energy companies with projects in the Gulf of Mexico. The larger barge can accommodate oversized production modules such as the Chevron Tahiti project production module and support frame, which together weighed more than 17,320 tons. To widen the barge, 16 sponsons, some up to 12.5 feet wide by 57.84 feet long, were added to each side of the barge at Alabama Shipyard.