Midship Marine, Harvey, La., has delivered a new 95'x21'x11' aluminum rapid response vessel to Clean Gulf Associates Inc., a non-profit cooperative based in New Orleans, which has responded to and prepared for oil spills in the Gulf and along the coast since 1972.

With a deadweight tonnage of 95 tons, the J.L. O’Brien is the fourth in a series of offshore oil spill recovery vessels constructed by Midship for Clean Gulf to help ensure a speedy and efficient response to future oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new OSRV, which has a 5'6" draft, will be prepositioned in Leeville, La., to help anchor spill response readiness all along the Gulf Coast. The O’Brien represents a $5 million investment in new Clean Gulf response resources designated for the Gulf of Mexico.

“In order to stay fully responsive, CGA is continuously improving and expanding our equipment inventory and response fleets with the latest technology to ensure the protection of the Gulf Coast, our marine habitat and commercial and recreational fisheries resources in the event of an oil spill related incident,” Capt. Frank Paskewich, president of Clean Gulf Associates, said in a statement announcing the new boat’s delivery.

The O’Brien is the first OSRV designed with advanced Seakeeper 35 gyrostabilizer technology that reduces the vessel’s rolling motion by up to 75%, allowing for productive skimming in rougher seas. The Seakeeper is a computer-controlled gyroscope that provides counter-torque to the natural rolling motion of the vessel thereby reducing crew fatigue, anxiety, and seasickness. Additionally, the more stable platform allows for skimming in increased sea states.

Like the first three vessels, the O’Brien is Coast Guard certified with overnight accommodations for a crew of six and is outfitted with the technologically advanced Aptomar-Rutter integrated X-Band oil spill detection system and infrared camera oil spill detection sensor allowing for 24-hour oil skimming operations. Additional electronics include an ICOM VHF/aircraft/SSB radio, Furuno DRS12A radar and FAR211 X-band radar, Inmarsat data and voice satellite communications, and Simrad autopilot.

In addition, the O’Brien is equipped with two, three-brush Lamor side-mounted skimmers with an effective daily recovery capacity of 22,885 bbls. of oil per day and 249 bbls. of recovered oil storage. The OSRV also has a 3,500-gal. fuel capacity for extended offshore response. Other tankage includes 1,500 gals. of water.

Main propulsion for the O’Brien comes from twin Caterpillar C-32 diesel engines, producing 1,320 hp at 2,100 rpm each. The Cats are connected to ZF 40"x42" props through Twin Disc QuickShift marine gears with 2.44:1 reduction ratios. The propulsion package gives the new boat a cruising speed of 24 knots. For additional maneuverability, the OSRV has been fitted with a Thrustmaster 16TT60 AL tunnel thruster.

Ship’s service power is the responsibility of two Northern Lights gensets, sparking 65 kW of electrical power each. The controls are Twin Disc EC300s and the steering system is a Jastram DSC100 with dual 3-hp hydraulic pumps. The boat has a MarQuip 2,500-lb. crane on deck.

The O’Brien is named after the late James (Jim) L. O’Brien, who pioneered professional oil spill response management for more than 40 years. He died in 2014. “Jim O’Brien is the most iconic oil spill response planning and management professional of all time," Paskewich said. "During his career — spanning 45 years — Jim continuously displayed energy and passion when planning and formulating the most efficient and effective strategies and tactics to respond to an oil spill. Through his experience, reputation, and dedication, he positively influenced thousands of people throughout the response industry.”

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.