I had a call from a Buddy that sails on the OSG ATB’s, he told me that one rig is laid up with more to follow. This does not sound like a temporary situation but rather a long term thing.

Also, they said that layoffs have started with some senor people being let go!

I was wondering what was going to happen as none of their Barges have any type of BWT (Ballast Water Treatment) Systems installed *as far as I know). Plus that fleet is getting pretty old.

This is a shame as at one time they had really good equipment but since to 90’s they have been going down hill fast!

Great. More competition for the few jobs that open up.

Without a doubt this is going to be one of the longest winter for the industry affecting many professionals, even here in Asia where company closures and job loss numbers on the high. Sometimes it is not the lack of opportunity but the ability to take the risk and try; meaning what are you going to do in a job scarce environment?

There is a lot of new tonnage via tankers out there. They burn less fuel and can carry more cargo. With the current flood of new ships, you’re going to start to see the older ships sent to scrap once their charters are up. The newer ships burn hardly any fuel. Nassco ECO class tankers around 25 MT/day of diesel at 14 kts.

Wow… That’s pretty awesome. You have first hand knowledge of that or just what you’ve heard?

Like OSVs, ATBs were way overbuilt, and they are still building more of them. Handy size tankers have caught on again.

Everyone has always known that a tanker is a better and more reliable way to transport oil on schedule, over a tug and barge combination. Fuel and crew are normally thought to be the biggest operating costs.

Since so many owners hate their crews, the idea of saving money by reducing the crew size by 50% to 66% and by being able to hire cheaper limited tonnage mariners, and thus paying a lot less for crew was very seductive.

Now owner’s have learned that there are more important things to consider in the profitable transport oil, than merely keeping crew sizes and costs too low.

As an FGN Master both deepsea and offshore ATBs, whilst technically innovative, are an abonmimation built to have reduced crewing.

My understanding (and correct me if wrong) is that the GRT of the tug section determines the manning of the unit, not the whole combination.

From my PoV this leads to crew overload as they are running the tug at sea then working the brage alongside.

ATBs only exist inthe USA and are built to circumvent the USCG interpretations of manning rules, leading to potentially unseaworthy vessels.

i.e. if the tug could drop off the barge like a semi trailer, go pick up another one then that would make logistical sense. However, as I understand it, the tug section on its own has very little stability making this uncommon.

This isn’t an anti USA rant, just an observation from many years at sea that owners will do anything to bend the rukes to their advantage.

Another example were the turret deck ships frrom the 1890’s. The reduced beam at main deck level lessened Suez Canal fees as they were charged, at the time, on main deck area. The down side was stability had te be carefully monitored.



Not to detract from your criticisms of ATB’s but ATB’s do not exist only in the USA. They can in fact be found operating in other parts of the world.


As far as stability characteristics go, I believe you may be confusing ATB tugs with ITB tugs.

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Tes familiar with those - in Singapore there are dozens involved in the land reclamation works. However the crew work in shifts 24/7 as productivity is uppermost.

And as they live and breathe in the Singapore traffic the are almost Kamikaze like in the wat they go - unladen I have seen them do 18 knots.

But this is engaged in the purpose for which they were designed, not a rile avoidance design.

I recall someone was on here a while back saying Crowley may have gone too far and built themselves out of the ATB niche with their ship-size ATB’s and their associated issues, as compared to an actual handy size tanker or conventionally sized US ATB.

What lengths to go to in order to circumvent proper crewing? Obviously diminishing returns were finally reached.

Meanwhile Vane Brothers JUST KEEPS BUILDING more wire boats…how do they do it when the entire trade is going in the total opposite direction?

I think so, but whatever engineers they have would probably need to be unlimited due to their license limitations being based on horsepower as opposed to tonnage.

A lot of their work is in rivers and harbors. Aren’t conventional barges better suited for that?

Well it hasent really been spoken on here but vane took a huge hit this year, a lot of people lots theirs jobs 8 boats and barges tied up, contracted tugs taken off their barges, and more spot work than contracts… yes they are cranking out boats, but starting to phase out old equipment… but Crowley I haven’t heard anything about them being slow

From what I have heard Vane’s problem stem from one of the higher ups embezzling lots of money. Any truth to that?

Yeh, me neither. Just some chatter about the giant ATB’s they built blurring the lines between ship/ATB with less than favorable charachteristics from both classes.

Haven’t heard that , tug are the last one to feel from the oil industry , building to fast will catch up to you and they can’t say hey stop building these boats , keels were laid contracts signed… and vane isn’t the only one to be slowing down so to say it’s embellezembt well what’s they have to to with everyone else moving oil, if you been around bay ridge anchorage the last 4 months it’s stack with units waiting around for jobs

That rumor was started by a captain who wasn’t worth a shit, who finally got canned during the layoffs.

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Yeah I believe that, i most likely know the guy then…

Yeah, from what I’ve been told and seen from friends a lot of dead weight got trimmed. Captains that refused to leave the harbor etc.

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I have seen the numbers and I have seen they burn more fuel then the aker OSG ships. Not to mention they have a hard time maintaining 14 knots. Some pilots I’ve talk to don’t like the Crowley ships because they lack balls. For some reason the Crowley ships with the charter I’m on can only bunker 400 to 500 tons of bunkers at a time. Might only be on the charter I have seen but that’s my experience