(Crowley Launch and Tugboat Company, Shipowners and Merchants Tugboat Company, Antilles Aggregates Export Incorporated, Caribe Tugboat Corporation, Puget Sound Tug and Barge Company, Bay Cities Transportation Company)
Founded in 1892, by Thomas Crowley. He acquired one 18(ft) Whitehall boat to provide transportation of personnel and stores to ships anchored in San Francisco Bay. The Whitehall boat was later joined by two others serving the San Francisco Bay twenty four hours a day.
In the 1890's the business was incorporated under the name Thomas Crowley and Brothers. Crowley acquired his first 36(ft) motor launch. Shortly followed by a second 45 foot vessel and a third 28(ft) vessel. Within the span of a few years, the company's services broadened to include bay towing and ship assist services.
Crowley continued to build new vessels or acquiring used gasoline launches. Expanding both their fleet and the type of work the company could perform. The company also acquired and operated small barges to transport steel to Oakland and barrels of oil, ice, and other supplies to ships in the Bay.
In 1906, the Crowley Brothers' operation were incorporated as the Crowley Launch and Tugboat Company. Also that year, the company's fleet played a significant role in ferrying passengers, and their belongings out of San Francisco following the great earthquake. In 1908, the company expanded into tugboats to tow the scow schooners through the Bay. Crowley vessels handled the transportation of nitrate from South America and coal transport for government operations. Tom Crowley became recognized as an expert in the most efficient ways to handle and transport marine cargoes.
Crowley then acquired tugs of his own, and entered competition with the Shipowners and Merchants Tugboat Company, operators of the Red Stack tugs. The motto "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime on Water" was adopted. In 1912, in order to manage the growing fleet, Crowley built a marine railway, a dock, and a woodworking mill. The location was named as the Crowley Shipyard.
In 1913, the company acquired the Shipowners and Merchants Tugboat Company. In 1915, Crowley acquired Paradise Park, and transported people into the park from their private yachts. During World War I Crowley raised the laid up coal barge City of Panama, repaired her, and converted her to a five masted schooner.
In 1923, the company expanded into Puget Sound, with lightering services, and established a tugboat service in San Pedro, California. The Company also provided tug, launch, and barge services in San Francisco Bay along with heavy lift, and derrick barge services. Between 1930 and 1932, three water taxis were constructed.
In 1933, Bulk petroleum transportation joined the company's portfolio of services. The company undertook a conversion program, to convert the vessels propulsion systems from steam, to diesel in 1934. In 1935, Crowley's shipyard operation became a separate company under the Crowley name. In 1938, Crowley designed a 148(ft) 7,000(bbl) gasoline barge, capable of moving refined bulk petroleum.
In 1939, Crowley won a concession to operate two passenger services from Treasure Island, to the newly constructed Golden Gate Bridge. The 7,000(bbl) barge was shortly joined by a 9,000(bbl) barge, and then an 11,000(bbl) barge.
In 1939, the company acquired equipment from Shell Oil to operate the petroleum transport in both the Bay Area, and Southern California. Crowley's dry dock, and repair company began building ships for the government in support of World War II. The Company began the tow of the United States battleship Oklahoma from Hawaii to Oakland, California after it was bombed at Pearl Harbor. As well as, undertaking the first coastal transportation of bulk petroleum by barge from San Francisco, California to Coos Bay, Oregon.
In 1946, construction of the company's first sea going, oil barge began, and was completed in 1947. In the early 1950s, Crowley began transporting gasoline southward to Mexico, and brought molasses northward on the return trip. After Wold War II, the Company replaced all of its surviving steam tugs with surplus diesel equipment. Additional surplus vessels were acquired in the late 1940's, such as Miki class wooden hull. 1,200 horsepower tugs, as well as flatdeck, and other barges.
In 1953, the company acquired the Matinolich shipyard in Oakland, California. Where the company initiated it's long commitment to arctic transportation. With an agreement in 1955, to resupply the United States Government's distant, early warning, radar and communication system on the Alaska coastline.
In 1958, regular container transportation services to Alaska from the lower United States. Four new steel barges capable of carrying 300 containers were introduced to the fleet. Along with 600 containers, and terminal cranes. In 1958, the company completed the first penetration of the Artic by a commercial tug and barge.
In 1963, Crowley completed the first Arctic sealift of oil industry cargo around the perimeter of Alaska to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The transport of 187,000 tons of cargo to Prudhoe Bay was the largest commercial sealift in maritime history.
By 1971, fifteen 400(ft) barges had been constructed to transport railcars, pipe, and other cargo. And, between 1968 and 1970, five new tugs had been designed, and built with simplified engine rooms to lessen the number of crewmen required, from twelve to eight.
In the 1960s, Crowley was called on by oil industry officials to help tame the waters of Cook Inlet, Alaska by rafting tugs together to supply the necessary horsepower to set the oil exploration platforms. And, furnishing a supply boat and crew boat services.
In 1971, the company expanded oil industry support operations to Singapore, to work in the Indonesian oil patch. A weekly roll on/roll off freight service between Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and from the United States Gulf, to Puerto Rico was developed. In May of that year, Crowley initiated services to ferry passengers across the San Pedro channel.
In 1975, the company was reorganized, and formed the Crowley Maritime Corporation of San Francisco, California.
By 1977, the Sealift, an ice breaking barge propelled by two 9,000 horsepower tugs. Was constructed to break a path through offshore ice.
In 1977, the company was contracted to provide vessel assist, and escort services at Valdez, Alaska for the tankers loading crude oil for transport to the lower United States. Four Point class tugs, and a 205(ft) by 90(ft) icebreaker barge were added to the fleet specifically to perform shallow water services in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Between 1974 and 1977, twenty five Invader class tugs, and nine 450 series petroleum barges were constructed for Crowley
In 1974, Jacksonville, Florida was added as a mainland port of call for cargo bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1978, the company developed the worlds largest roll on/roll off (RO/RO) barges for the mainland to Puerto Rico service. In 1980, new terminals were constructed to handle the new triple deck barges, including terminals in Lake Charles, Louisiana; and Petty's Island near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In 1987, new construction further internationalized Crowley's marine operations. By expanding cargo ship operations to Central America, the entire Caribbean, and both coasts of South America. In the early 1980s, the company constructed three ships to bring containerization to the Latin America trade. Conversion of five triple deck barges was undertaken in 1984. To stretch the barges from 400(ft) to 730(ft), increasing the capacity of each vessel by seventy eight percent.
In 1989, when the 987(ft) tanker Exxon Valdez went aground. Crowley tugs were first on the scene to take up position alongside the stricken tanker. The company was the principle contractor for equipment, and personnel. To provide marine support for the spill cleanup.
In 1991, during the Persian Gulf conflict Crowley chartered three, RO/RO vessels, a tug, and water barge to the United States Military Sealift Command. In support of the United Nations' various military transportation and supply services.
In 1993, service to the Bahamas from Port Everglades, Florida began. Crowley formed two joint ventures. The Marine Response Alliance and Clean Pacific, to efficiently provide emergency services according to the requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
A new technology tractor tug building program was launched for two 120(ft), 5,500 horsepower Protector class tugs. They featured Voith Schneider cycloidal propellers. The company won a unique design, build, and operate contract with the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. For two 153(ft) 10,192 horsepower tractor tugs, designed for tanker escort, and spill response operations. Crowley took delivery of six new 140(ft), 10,912 horsepower, Prevention and Response Tugs (PRTs) and deployed them for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in Valdez, Alaska, and Prince William Sound.
Three new Articulated Tug Barges (ATBs) were delivered and deployed for customers on the United States West Coast.
Purpose-built tug Avik was designed to serve in the company's oil transportation and distribution fleet in Alaska. Crowley deployed the first, double hulled, tank barge. Dedicated to Alaska service, the barge 180-1 was designed to carry both deck cargo, and about 12,000(bbls) of refined petroleum products. The company acquired the assets of Yukon Fuel Company, Northland Vessel Leasing, and the stock of Service Oil and Gas Incorporated.