Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 8, 2011

Marathon fleet adds new boats

CATLETTSBURG — Marathon added two new boats to its fleet at a christening ceremony Tuesday on the Ohio River.

Guests gathered in the heat of the morning along the river in Catlettsburg, where the company has a refinery, for the christenings of the new boats, named Kentucky and Marathon.

The tow boats will be used to help move oil up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, said George Shaffner, senior vice president for transportation and logistics at Marathon.

Shaffner said he knows it can be “treacherous” working on the river when it becomes high, and they’re christening the boats to ask for protection.

“Our whole economy depends on oil being safely transported,” Shaffner said.

That’s Marathon’s goal, along with quality and being as sustainable as possible, he said.

Todd Sandifer, Marathon’s manager of marine transportation and master of ceremony for the christenings, said the company is excited to add these boats to their fleet.

“We’re here today to recognize the motor vessels, but also to recognize the people who work on this river,” Sandifer said.

The crew members are outstanding and work for 28 days at a time, he said.

Tom Kelley, senior vice president of marketing, said he can “respect the awesome responsibility” crew members have in towing oil up and down the river.

“I’ve really come to appreciate the advantages of doing business on the river,” he said.

Before Chaplain Brandon Mozingo of the Seaman’s Church Institute led a prayer to bless the boats he expressed gratitude to the crew, whom he said “work tirelessly.”

“You have become one of the backbones of this country, delivering one of the resources necessary to keep this country going,” he said.

The sponsors of each boat then got on deck to officially christen the boats, reciting the words, “May her voyages be successful and her crew remain safe from harm.”

After the ceremony, guests, which included employees, their families and the company’s vendors, got to walk around on the new boats, which have already been in use for several months.

The Kentucky and Marathon are just two of 15 similar boats the company owns to help transport their oil.

LAUREL WILSON can be reached at lwilson@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2678.

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