Crowley Develops "Medical Support Barge" Concept for COVID-19 Response

Rendering courtesy Crowley Maritime

Published Apr 6, 2020 2:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

Crowley Maritime has developed a new design and operating concept for a "medical support barge" - a large deck barge retrofitted with living units, which could be quickly deployed to provide emergency housing during the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Crowley has nearly a dozen multipurpose barges available for temporary conversion, along with a fleet of tugs for positioning. The company says that its design would provide housing for more than 500 people per barge, or 5,500 people in total. 

“Our barges and towing vessels have the capability to be positioned virtually anywhere on water, including coastal cities, harbor communities and river communities. Combined with our project engineering and vessel design services, Crowley can tailor solutions to support responses to serve communities well,” said Jeff Andreini, general manager of Crowley offshore services.

In addition to barge-based aid solutions, Crowley said that it could quickly source other maritime assets (including ships) for medical or housing purposes. It also has in-house naval architecture and marine engineering services to advise on modifications; staffing capacity for supplying mariners, electricians, stewards, cooks and other personnel; and integrated warehousing and transportation services for essential supplies, including pharmaceuticals. 

“Crowley has been a consistent, responsive partner of the U.S. government for more than 100 years in diverse missions,” said Crowley’s Chris Goss, vice president, expeditionary logistics and business development. “We understand the communities we serve are going through difficult and uncertain times. We stand ready to support COVID-19 response missions by providing speed to theater, 24/7/365 readiness, experience, high performance and best-in-class technology.”

Crowley has a long history in supporting humanitarian, disaster and pandemic responses, including work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), USAID and the World Food Program (WFP). It has also worked on epidemic response efforts before: it provided on-site logistics support and shipping services for the U.S. military’s Operation United Assistance to fight Ebola in West Africa in 2014-15.