By Mark Edward Nero
It has provided marine services in Prince William Sound since 1990, but Crowley Marine Services will not be retained to provide oil spill prevention and response services in Valdez and Prince William Sound when its contract expires June 30, 2018.
Crowley bid, but was not chosen by Alyeska to retain the entire scope of the current contract, the company revealed March 17. The company declined to provide further details, saying it was prohibited by bidding process rules.
The winning bidder has not yet been publicly announced.
Crowley has been under contract with Alyeska since the inception of the Ship Escort/Response Vessel System (SERVS) in 1990. SERVS was created in 1989 to prevent oil spills and provide oil spill response and preparedness capabilities for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. and Alaska crude oil shipping companies.
SERVS personnel, working closely with the US Coast Guard, monitor vessel traffic so tankers can safely travel through the Sound. Five state-of-the-art tugboats guide tankers through the Valdez Narrows and Hinchinbrook Entrance.
Two tugs depart with every tanker, loaded with oil spill response equipment such as boom, skimmers and smaller work boats. Currently, there are 17 vessels, 230 mariners and 17 shoreside administrative personnel working together to provide service to Alyeska in Valdez.
Crowley has said that it is “fully committed to continued professional service and full compliance” as the marine service provider until the end of June 2018, and that it will be engaged in any transition process.
“We bid this contract very aggressively and are extremely disappointed that we were not selected to retain this business,” company Chairman and CEO Tom Crowley said. “We have been assured that this outcome is the result of a very competitive landscape and is not a reflection of Crowley’s qualifications or record. We will continue to work constructively with Alyeska through the duration of our contract.”
“Over the next couple of years,” said Rocky Smith, Crowley senior vice president and general manager, petroleum distribution and marine services, “we will look for opportunities to redeploy our Valdez personnel and marine assets in new endeavors when our contract expires.”