First of two new oil tankers to begin service in Prince William Sound in 2014

Photo of Liberty Bay courtesy of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
Photo of Liberty Bay oil tanker courtesy of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.

The first of two new SeaRiver oil tankers is expected to begin service in Prince William Sound later this year.

SeaRiver, the shipping arm of ExxonMobil, held a naming ceremony for the vessel Liberty Bay on April 25. The second vessel will be named Eagle Bay.

Built by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc., both vessels measure 823.5 feet long and 144 feet wide, and have double hull protection for both cargo and fuel tanks. The vessels are capable of carrying 115,000 tons of weight including cargo, fuel, ballast water, provisions and crew. Cargo capacity is 800,000 barrels (approximately 33.6 million gallons). Propelled by a slow speed diesel engine, the vessels’ “service speed” is 15 knots (approximately 17 miles per hour).

Ballast water treatment technology

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Council study reviews escort tug technology

Council Project Manager

This vessel, the Tan'erliq, is an "enhanced tractor tug," or ETT.
This vessel, the Tan’erliq, is an “enhanced tractor tug,” or ETT.

A recent council study found that the escort tugs being used in Prince William Sound, though exceedingly capable, no longer represent the best technology being used for these types of applications and services worldwide.

Loaded oil tankers transiting the waters of Prince William Sound are required by federal law and their oil spill contingency plans to be accompanied by two escort tugboats. Currently, escort tugs can serve in a primary or secondary role, depending on performance requirements established in the tanker contingency plans. The goal of the escort tug system is to prevent an oil tanker that suffers a mechanical or propulsion issue from running aground.

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Firefighting symposium held in Seward; includes live fire training for first time

A firefighter practices on live fire in a controlled situation during the 2013 Marine Firefighting Symposium. Photo by Alan Sorum.
A firefighter practices on live fire in a controlled situation during the 2013 Marine Firefighting Symposium.

The 2013 Marine Firefighting Symposium was held October 8-10 in Seward. Through partnerships with the Seward Fire Department and AVTEC – Alaska’s Institute of Technology, this year the symposium included live fire training for the first time.

Participants came from all parts of Alaska. The 39 participants and eight facilitators represented a mix of communities and industry. Attendance numbers were lower than previous symposiums due to several factors, including the federal government shutdown.

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Council tours tanker Overseas Martinez at the Valdez Marine Terminal

Council Project Manager

Overseas Martinez moored at the terminal. Photo by Alan Sorum.
Overseas Martinez moored at the terminal.

On October 27, Board President Amanda Bauer, Executive Director Mark Swanson, Director of Programs Donna Schantz and Project Manager Alan Sorum were given the opportunity to tour the tanker Overseas Martinez at the Valdez Marine Terminal. Arrangements for the visit were made by Marine Superintendent Patrick Callahan of Overseas Shipping Group, commonly known as OSG, who traveled from Tampa, Florida to Nikiski and rode the tanker over to Valdez to conduct the tour. Mr. Callahan provided the group with a unique opportunity to become better acquainted with the OSG fleet.

The Overseas Martinez is a 600 foot long tanker operated for Tesoro by OSG. Built in 2010, the tanker can carry 338,447 barrels of cargo. It calls at Valdez, Nikiski and ports along the West Coast. This tanker was built at the Aker Shipyard in Philadelphia as a crude oil and clean product tanker. The vessel received extensive retrofits to provide extra insulation and heating for the rigors of Alaska service.

A number of interesting things were noted about the Overseas Martinez. The vessel is powered by a large, two-cycle diesel engine. Two-cycle engines produce power at every revolution of the crankshaft. This ship uses direct drive to turn its propeller shaft and prop. The engine needs to be physically stopped and restarted in the opposite direction to reverse course. This means advanced planning becomes important during maneuvering.

Council representatives learn about the tanker. Photo by Alan Sorum.
Council representatives learn about the tanker.

Interestingly, all the rainwater that collects on the deck of the Overseas Martinez is collected and treated and prior to being discarded to prevent potential sheens. During loading operations, the vessel employs a hull stress calculator to ensure its 46,000 tons of cargo is loaded in a sequence that does not damage the tanker. Because of its concerns with potentially illegal overboard discharges, the vessel is equipped with a sentinel system that reports any discharge of water or other substance through the hull to the water to OSG’s management team in Tampa, Florida.

This is the first visit the council has had on a tanker moored at the Valdez Marine Terminal in a long time. In the recent past, Polar Tankers has graciously allowed firefighter tours during the Marine Firefighting Symposium at the Valdez Container Terminal. We thank Captain George Kugler and Chief Engineer Mr. Paul Russell for the informative tour and hospitality. The visit would not have been possible without the help of Marine Superintendent Patrick Callahan.

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