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Crowley, SEACOR chart a new course with a tanker JV

Two titans of the global maritime and logistics industry, Crowley and SEACOR Holdings, through its subsidiary Seabulk Tankers, have joined forces to create a joint venture Fairwater Holdings LLC, a new, independent U.S. Jones Act service provider.

Image credit Crowley

The new company integrates the duo’s liquid energy and chemical transportation vessels, operations and related services to serve the U.S. domestic market with vessels and marine transportation solutions across the petroleum and chemical trades, as well as related third-party ship management services.

It will include 20 ocean-going, articulated tug-barges and 11 tankers, many under long-term charter. The joint venture will provide crewing and technical management for an additional 21 third-party owned vessels.

Daniel Thorogood, CEO of Seabulk, will assume the CEO role at Fairwater at closing. The joint venture will be based in Fort Lauderdale with offices in Fairfield, Conn.; Houston, Jacksonville, and Seattle. 

“Fairwater marks an important milestone in meeting the evolving needs for safe, efficient, and sustainable U.S. domestic maritime transportation solutions,” said Thorogood.

“I am honored to take the helm alongside highly experienced seagoing and shoreside team members and provide our customers and the communities we serve with a maritime transportation provider whose values and performance will set the industry standard.”  

“Through this new joint venture, Fairwater will create more value for customers. Seabulk is an ideal and complementary partner with proven expertise in providing safe, sustainable and reliable maritime results and in driving innovation, much like Crowley,” said Tom Crowley, chairman and CEO of Crowley.

“The new company will not only be a historic moment for Crowley and SEACOR, but it will also align with our continuing growth strategy with solutions for customers and partners that deliver clear benefits for today and promise to advance tomorrow.”    

“Fairwater provides an exciting path for continued growth and investment benefiting our exceptional talent pool, our customers and this essential industry at large,” said Eric Fabrikant, CEO of SEACOR.

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with Tom and the entire Crowley organization and look forward to jointly supporting this new venture ensuring seamless service during this transitional time and beyond.”   

The joint venture transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024 and begin operations following the satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approval. 

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Crowley has been at the forefront of the decarbonization efforts in the maritime industry in the United States, partnering with industry majors on various initiatives including electrification and hydrogen.

The company has teamed up with Chevron on a hydrogen technology company for maritime applications.

In addition, last month, Florida-based marine company Crowley and the Port of San Diego broke ground for the shoreside charging station designed to provide clean energy for the company’s forth-coming zero-emissions tugboat, eWolf.

The eWolf will have a 6-Mwh energy storage system with sufficient capacity enabling the vessel to deliver one full day of normal work without using a drop of fuel. 

The 82-foot vessel is expected to be completed and ready for service in mid-2023 at the Port of San Diego.