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Crowley Alaska history: Crowley entered the Alaska market in 1953. This year marks 50 years of their diligent and dedicated service to the business and the people of Alaska.

1953 A Crowley company pioneers the use of bar to transport railcars filled with wood chips between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

1956 Crowley begins supplying the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Lice radar installations for the U. S. Force, including sites along the Aleutian Chain and across Alaska's northern coastline into Canada. It was the first penetration of the Arctic by a commercial tug and barge service.

1957 Thirty-foot tidal variations and 12-knot currents challenge Crowley when setting platforms for McArthur River and other oil-field operation locations in Cook Inlet. Crowley solves the problem innovatively by rafting several tugs together to develop the horsepower needed, but not available in a single tug that year.

1958 Crowley becomes the first company to offer common carrier transportation of cargo in containers to Alaska from the Lower 48.

1963 Commences regular rail-barge operations, known as the Alaska Hydro-Train, for the Alaska Railroad. This service involves transporting rail car by barge from Seattle to the Alaska Railroad terrain in Whittier.

1968 Utilizing prior pioneering experience, Crowley begins the first in s continuing series of the now-famed summer sealifts following the discovery of oil Prudhoe Bay. Since then, 334 barges carrying nearly 1.3 million tons of cargo have been successfully delivered to the North Slope petroleum industry, including modules the size of 10-story buildings, weighing nearly 6,000 tons each.

1969 Becomes an ally of Alaska's fishing industry launching their "Salmon Carriers" business that s lighters cases of salmon from several shores-based canneries in Bristol Bay out to ships at a mid-stream anchorage which then sealift them to Seattle, continuing to 1985.

1971 Two, 400-foot by 76-foot house barges, the "Juneau" and the "Fairbanks," press into service picking up salmon at several Western Alaska ports for delivery to Seward and trans-shipment to Seattle.

1972 Smaller barges with cranes and forklifts aboard begin calling directly at 20 canneries, hauling supplies northbound to them between April and June and then between July and October hauling salmon southbound into Kodiak for final shipment to Seattle.

1973 The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act passes U.S. Congress after which Crowley acquires Mukluk Freight Lines, an established Alaska trucking firm and during the next two years hauls more of the 48-inch-diameter pipe than any other carrier. The 800-mile pipeline is the largest commercial project anywhere in the world.

1974 Crowley ventures into Alaska's construction business with the purchase of Anchorage-based Northwestern Construction Co., with field offices in Valdez and Fairbanks. During the next few years, the company constructs the north-south runway at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, many miles of highways and Exxon's Duck Island, the first-ever gravel-drilling island in the Beaufort Sea.

1975 Crowley's summer sealift flotilla to the North Slope faces the worst Arctic icepack conditions in a century. It was the largest sealift in the project's history with 47 vessels marshaled to transport 154,429 tons of cargo, including 179 modules reaching as tall s as nine-story buildings and weighing 1,300 tons each. The vessels wait nearly two months for the ice to retreat, which it eventually does, in late September. When the ice closes again it takes four tugs pushing the barges, one at a time, to get through the ice.

CATCO all-terrain vehicles are first acquired for remote off-road transportation in support of the oil industry and operate without negative impact to the Arctic tundra environment.

Pacific Alaska Lines (PAL) is formed to provide general freight service from Portland, Ore., to Alaska, and contract transportation of bulk urea from Kenai to West Coast ports. Two warehouse barges, the "Oregon" and the "Alaska," were built for PAL.

1977 Crowley uses its icebreaker, Arctic Challenger, to achieve the earliest spring delivery by sea on record to the city of Nome.

1978 Crowley's Mukluk tracking enterprise expends its fleet operations to include large vacuum and water trucks to serve drill rigs operating in Prudhoe Bay. Also, a Mukluk affiliate called Oilfield Services Inc. is formed to provide a variety of landside assistance for the oil industry.

Crowley becomes the marine contractor for Alaska Clean Seas, an oil industry spill response cooperative funded by North Slope producers and Alyeska. Crowley provides tugs, barges, cranes and personnel for the effort.

1983 The annual summer sealift is composed of 26 barges, 14 tugs and accompanying vessels moving through the Beaufort Sea to Prudhoe Bay.

1985 Begins transporting, storing end selling petroleum products throughout all Alaska's coastal towns and villages and along major Western Alaska river systems. Tank farms at Kotzebue, Nome and Dutch Harbor are brought on line. During summer months, bulk fuels and packaged petroleum products and supplies are delivered, and tank farms are replenished. Smaller, shallow draft lighterage barges carry fuel to the remotest of villages, often beaching where no docks exist.

1989 Crowley tugs are first on the scene when tanker Exxon Valdez is grounded on Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef March 24. They were used during the transfer of oil from the tanker to smaller vessels, and provided power to guide the crippled tanker off the reef.

Crowley becomes the principal supplier of equipment and personnel, providing marine support for the spill cleanup, a massive effort pressing 166 Crowley vessels into service with several deployed from as far away as Los Angeles at the peak of operations.

1990 Crowley begins providing tugs and marine equipment and trains personnel for Alyeska's new Ship Escort Response Vessels System (SERVS) to escort laden tanker vessels though Prince William Sound.

2000 Transports, positions and sets down an oil exploration platform called the Osprey, on the Redoubt Shoals prospect, west of Kenai in Cook Inlet.

2001 Summer sealift culminates with delivery of production modules to Northstar Island near Prudhoe Bay. Measuring more than 10-stories high and weighing more than 3,500 tons each, they are the largest modules ever made in Alaska.

2003 Begins using new Hovercraft to provide cargo and personnel transportation to BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc.'s Northstar Island, located six miles offshore from Prudhoe Bay.

FALL OF 2003

Expands fuel service in Western Alaska by opening a fuel tank farm in Bethel on property of Bethel Native Corp.
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Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Geographic Code:1U9AK
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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