Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/707823
59 Summer 2016 Proceedings www.uscg.mil/proceedings to the village during the highest tide of the day, continue to push to the beach while the water recedes, and then shut down the engines when there's no longer enough water, going dry. "Going dry" means the tug and barge sit on dry ground while the crew continues delivering the fuel to the village tank farm until the next high tide returns in approximately 24 hours. This is standard practice for the operators in western Alaska, as it's the only way to get the job done in many locations. The farther you head north from Norton Sound and into the Arctic waters, the less the tide becomes a dominant factor, but the more exposed the villages are to the weather ele- ments, especially now that the Arctic ice pack recedes to more than 200 miles offshore. 2 In the past, the ice pack remained much closer to the shore, helping to keep the swells down on the beach and prolonging the time the tug and barge could push to the beach. 3 In this area, there isn't enough tide for the barge to go dry at all. The biggest challenge is to monitor the weather and be prepared to halt operations, clear the hose, and wait out the weather near the village. Learning Through Experience Because we've been operating in this western area of Alaska for more than 60 years, we've adapted to the evolving times and have modified our delivery equipment to simplify the fueling process for a more efficient and safer operation. The methods of pushing to the beach, double anchoring, and monitoring the changing weather conditions are often the only options to get the work done. This isn't taught in any school. Rather, it is learned by being there, constant training, doing it, and then passing it on to the next genera- tion of mariners. Our success in Alaska has been attributed to the company's collective ability to learn from its challenges and successes, incorporate lessons into its management system, and con- tinually improve. About the author: Captain Greg Pavellas started with Crowley in 1999 as a seaman. In 2003, he worked as a relief captain in the Bristol Bay region. In 2004, Greg outfit- ted the first of three of Crowley's Ikkat-class tugs in Anacortes, Washington, then sailed as captain and chief mate. He went on to become the director of this group. Captain Pavellas started his maritime career with five and a half years in the Coast Guard, where he sailed on a 110-foot Island-class cutter as well as aboard the icebreaker Polar Sea. Endnotes: 1. There are at least two customers per village, according to Crowley's database. 2. Per U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ice charts. 3. Historical U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ice chart data. The Sesok and the double-hulled barge DBL 165-1 float hose in Russian Mission, Alaska. Photo courtesy of Crowley by Patrick Burns. "There are many … things we try to do to improve our operations, but what it comes down to is to be socially responsible for the state we operate in, the customers we serve, and the people of Alaska. We are not only an industry partner in Alaska, but we are residents and stewards of Alaska as well." — Pat Burns, Crowley port captain