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A Texas First: Galveston-Texas City Ship Pilots Steer Loaded VLCC Out to Sea
Press Release
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

GALVESTON – The Galveston-Texas City Pilots on Monday safely guided the FPMC C MELODY out of the Port of Texas City, the first time a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) loaded and sailed from any port in Texas. This is part of ongoing efforts by Enterprise Products to test the economic benefits of directly filling VLCCs in Texas City, instead of shuttling oil to VLCCs parked off the coast.

“Guiding a vessel the size of a VLCC into and out of Texas City required months of planning, coordination and teamwork involving numerous people and organizations,” said Captain Christos Sotirelis, presiding officer of the Galveston-Texas City Pilots. “Texas’ ports are becoming increasingly important in the global energy market, and I’m proud we could play a role in helping explore this innovative approach to exporting energy.”

Under current practice at Texas ports, VLCCs park in deep water off the coast and use a series of shuttle tankers to transfer oil from the ports to the stationary vessel. Enterprise is testing the economic benefit of partially filling the tankers at dock, then moving to deeper water off-shore to complete the process. In April, the VLCC NAVE QUASAR docked in Texas City and left empty as a dry run. Ships like the FPMC C MELODY cannot be completely filled at the Port of Texas City, because the water is too shallow to allow a fully-loaded VLCC to pass – 45 feet deep vs. the required 75 feet.

On Thursday, four pilots worked the ship as the FPMC C MELODY, 1,083-feet long, entered the 1,200-foot-wide Port at Texas City. C MELODY left port Monday roughly half-full of crude oil.

Since 1845, the Galveston-Texas City Pilots have guided vessels safely to port or out to sea with a mission to protect lives, the environment, property, and the economic strength of the Ports of Galveston County. The Pilots are all master mariners with decades of experience and specialized local knowledge, charged with ensuring the safety of Texas’ ports and waterways.

Remembering Jim Guidry Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

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