Manning Levels on ATB and Tankers


So abt. 50000 DWT, or abt. 30000 GT?
20 crew would be abt. international standard for a tanker of this type and size, I believe. (Although an extra 3rd Mate would be unusual)
That is abt. double the size of ATBs used on the Alaska trade according to this:

A 25000 DWT tanker would not have any less crew than a 50000 DWT one in normal operation by international standard.

As long as it is allowed to operate an ATB with half, or less, crew I can see it is attractive to Owners/Charterers, but I cannot see how it is allowed by authorities and underwriter.

4 men crew on a small (<5000 bbls.) coastal tanker in Norway does look small, though, even if equipped with all kinds of bells and whistles.


I could see how it can be done with a 4 man crew on a small harbor bunker tanker. There are lots of 4 man tugs doing similar work. The tanker should be easier (no making and breaking tow, no climbing on and off the barge, possibly more and better capstans or winches for mooring Lines). However, 4 men will not comply with rest hour requirements. Neither will 5 men.

Most of the 80,000 barrel ATBs that I’ve seen have: 1 Master, 2 Mates, 2 AB/Tankerman and 1 Engineer. The small Vitus Marine ATBs in Alaska are about 10,000 barrels. Those are actually combo oil / deck cargo barges. I think they have 5 man crews.


This 15000 Dwt tanker is Swdish owned, Danish flagged and trading coastwise in Norway:
Crew quarters for 16 pers. (Not sure how many is actually on board)

(Approx 100000 Bbls. capacity)


Not all. OSG mates are non-union, and there is no “company union.”

With the exception of the two ships that run foreign, all OSG tankers run 21 people. Capt, C/M, 2/M, 2 x 3/M, Chief, 1, 2, 3 A/E, Bosun, 2 OSs, 3 ABs, 3 Steward dept, Pumpman and 2 DEU.

OSG has ATB’s, and I think their manning is somewhere around 12, but don’t quote me on that.


100,000 bbl is a 100,000 bbl. I don’t see why a 100,000 bbl tanker needs almost twice as many men as a 100,000 bbl ATB.

With loading and discharging, 12 men sounds like a good crew size the ATB.

Other than present regulations, why would a new 100,000 bbl tanker with an automated engine room need more than 15 men?

Maybe the regulation required crew size should in part be based upon carrying capacity.


I stand corrected… Forgot about the bosun…21 is right.


A couple things add to the workload, regulatory compliance and using heavy oil.

Not a tanker but I’m at 19, could cut 1 stwd dept, capt and chief work could move ashore (payroll, port documents, parts ordering) cutting two more. That be 16.

Be a lot of work, ECDIS is time consuming, third mate does a lot required safety checks. One small leak of HFO in the E/R is a lot of clean up. No way it’d be work/rest compliant.

I don’t know how much man-hours on an ATB to regulatory compliance. It’s a lot on an inspected ship. A quick PSC is a couple hours, four hours is not unheard of. An ABS/CG inspection could be a day and a half or more. I’ve had an ABS audit that was paperwork only that went 8 hrs. The initial ILO inspection was 8 hrs.


Good points as always.

As far as I known, the ATB oil transport trade is almost exclusively a domestic Jones Act trade, and to a small extent nearby foreign. US flag tankers are also almost exclusively a Jones Act Trade.

I might be misinformed, but its my understand that HFO cannot be burned within 200 miles of the US Coast. If true, HFO should not be much of a factor in the Jones Act Trade.

Things like payroll should be done onshore, at least in the Jones Act trade.

In terms of a small 100,000 bbl tanker, if it cannot function with less than 20 men, when a 6 man tug and barge can do the same job, that explains why there aren’t any small tankers. Admittedly, a coastwise tug with a 100,000 bbl oil barge ought to have more than 6 men.




I believe he means the time taken to keep everything up to date, train new mates how to do so, and then verify that the system is correct and functional before being scrutinized by inspectors.

The first company that makes it to market with a “sailor proof” software suite for ecdis where you simply press an update charts button will make a mint.


I think we already have that. The 2/M plugs in the USB drive into the ecids, moves it to the computer, opens the program for the ecdis, and then plugs it back into the ecdis. Takes him no more than 10 minutes a week. And I’m sorry, but, if as 2/M, you can’t handle that, then you shouldn’t be 2/M.

Training new mates how to use it…that’s a different story!


Yeah well I’m in the training new mates business and it’s a pain in the ass. All of that messing with jump drives and cumbersome user interface is totally unescessary in my opinion. Why can’t it be like a software update on your personal computer? It’s not user friendly and that leads to fuck ups because it’s a computer. Years ago I could ask the second mate for his correction book, open the chart drawer and randomly check his corrections on paper. I agree that if you don’t possess strong computer skills you shouldnt be sailing above bosun. Some guys don’t have it and it can be a giant pain in the captains ass trying to get them sorted out or sent home. To mine and (I believe) @Kennebec_Captain original point; time consuming.


Yeah, for the purposes of this thread I should have said voyage planning. On the tugs it more or less wasn’t done. Now it takes a lot of time, we are not on a liner run.

In any case I should have said the transition to ECDIS has been time consuming. What @DamnYankee plus many small things down to learning how to put the “Call Captain” mark on the ECDIS.

On top of that we had months of hardware, software problems, reloads, two new hard drives, comms problems, intermittent display issues, etc, but off-topic here.


I can only speak to the 750 class of Crowley ATB’s but we run with

Master, chief mate, 2nd mate, 3rd mate,
3rd mate, chief engineer, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, AB, AB, AB, Utility, Utility, and cook. We have 4 non watch standing officers on a tugboat, it is ridiculous. It’s 330,000bbls barge but still way overcrewed.


That’s a total of 15 men. You think it’s more men than you need.

Could you run a 330,000 bbl tanker (the same size as your ATB) with 15 men? Or even less than 15 men?

It appears to me that the primary difference between a tanker and an ATB is the method of attaching the engine room. I don’t understand why the crew size, whatever it is, shouldn’t be the same.


All of the “Officers” on the OSG ATB’s are AMO. All are in the Union for Benefits and Pension only except for the AE’s, they are full Union.


The problem encountered on vessels with the mates in charge of the cargo is they exceeded their OPA90 hours.with fast turn-arounds. Hence the increased manning.


Correct. I should have said all of the tanker mates. Engineers are MEBA.


Nobody is bringing it up, but who does the maintenance? It sounds like you have an AB per watch, and that’s it? Who does the chipping and painting and PM’s for the barge?


According to specs there are 16 single cabins. I don’t know how many are actually occupied on a normal coastal voyage.
The Ternsund and Ternfjord are on long term charter to Esso Norway and trading on the Norwegian coast only.