First Very Large Crude Carrier docks with Texas A&M Maritime Academy graduate as the pilot    

It's big!  Really, really big.  It is the biggest oil tanker ever to call on a Gulf of Mexico port - holding as much as 2 million barrels of crude oil - and it was piloted recently into port by Captain Jay Rivera, a graduate of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

The ship, named Anne, docked safely at the Oxy Ingleside Energy Center at the Port of Corpus Christi.  It is called a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) with a length of 1100 feet and 200 feet wide.

"It was a very challenging maneuver to bring such a large vessel in a narrow, confined waterway," said Rivera. "We trained in computer simulators at the Seamen's Church Institute in Houston extensively to ensure it could be done safely.  It has been the largest ship I've piloted in my career."

This docking was a major milestone for Texas ports proving that a Texas port can export the state's oil using a VLCC ship.  "It will redefine the export of American energy worldwide by lowering the transportation costs per barrel of oil being shipped," said Rivera.  He says, as of now a VLCC ship has not called upon the ports of Houston or Galveston.  "But I suspect the questions will be asked of those pilot groups soon," said Rivera.

Rivera graduated from Texas A&M Galveston in May of 1998 and sailed on U.S. flag chemical and product tankers all the way to getting his Master license.  After sailing as Master he applied and was accepted to the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots in 2005 and has been a harbor pilot for 12 years.

"The education I received at Texas A&M Galveston was crucial to the success of my maritime career," said Rivera.  "I'm very grateful to all the wonderful people at Texas A&M Galveston that helped me along the way.  I have many fond memories of my time there.  The only thing I don't miss are the mosquitoes."