The Maritime Administration (Marad) has approved a $12 million Title XI loan guarantee for Gray Offshore LLC. The loan is to support the recent construction of three oceangoing deck barges — the Julius, Cordie and Gwendolyn.

All three barges are currently in service on the Gulf Coast conducting project cargo moves in Mexico and transporting modules for U.S. refinery upgrades.

Gray Offshore, headquartered in Houma, La., is a barge leasing company providing marine construction and transportation services both domestically and internationally. Construction of the barge units was completed by Conrad Industries in Morgan City, La.

Marad’s Title XI program promotes the growth and modernization of America’s merchant marine industry while enabling owners of eligible vessels or eligible shipyards to obtain suitable long-term financing.

In 2014, Marad sought public comment on a proposal to expand the criteria used to grant Title XI loans to include vessels designed for use in marine highways and those powered by alternative energy systems such as liquified natural gas.

In April, Marad announced its updated policy, which entitles the agency to “consider whether such projects include environmental initiatives that are likely to increase efficiency and lead to future cost savings.”