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Small town plays large role in boatbuilding

Dec 6, 2007 12:00 AM Lockport, La. is a small town of 2,600 people located in Bayou Country on the Lafourche Bayou about 46 miles southwest of New Orleans. It is home to several boatbuilding companies that construct much of the nation’s offshore supply boat fleet as well as other vessels including tugs and Coast Guard patrol boats. These companies, both large and small, line the banks of the bayou and launch their boats directly into the waterway. 

Modules of Rigdon supply boats ready for assembly. A superstructure module (pilothouse with two decks of accommo-dations below) is at the left with a bow section module at the right including two bow thrusters. Only Production Control knows if these two modules are a part of the same boat. (Photos by Larry Pearson)

Modules of Rigdon supply boats ready for assembly. A superstructure module (pilothouse with two decks of accommo-dations below) is at the left with a bow section module at the right including two bow thrusters. Only Production Control knows if these two modules are a part of the same boat. (Photos by Larry Pearson)
 
The largest boat builder in Lockport and indeed one of the largest boat building companies in the country is Bollinger Shipyards. Its headquarters and one of its largest boat building facilities is in Lockport.

The shipyard produces an amazing array of oil field support vessels plus it has several dry docks for boat repair and fabrication facilities that have produced well over 100 Coast Guard patrol boats.

Bollinger has 14 shipbuilding and repair facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Lockport yard tends to build “multiples” of the same boat design. For example, they are now building eight 87-foot patrol boats for the Coast Guard. This is basically a repeat order. The company has built 56 of these vessels previously for this customer.

They are also building ten 190-foot platform supply vessels for Rigdon Marine, Houston, Texas. Four have been delivered, three are in the water being completed and there are several modules built awaiting assembly.

While Bollinger may be the 800 lb. gorilla in Lockport, they are by no means the only boatyard that knows a thing or two about building offshore supply boats.

Thoma-Sea Shipbuilders is an interesting Lockport success story.  The yard had been owned for years by Halter Marine and acquired by Robert Thomasee in 2001. Thoma-Sea Boat Builders had operated in Bourg, La. and the offer to buy the closed and shuttered Halter-Lockport facility was just too good a deal to pass up.

 
The 225-foot supply boat Master Everett will soon be launched by Thoma-Sea Shipbuilders. 
The yard has delivered five OSVs in the past two years and is working on a tug for Penn Maritime that will be mated to a 80,000 barrel barge to make a ATB. In addition this yard built possibly the best looking hull I have ever seen for a Trinity Marine megayacht. The hull lines of the 94-foot Whale Song Global Exploration Yacht were so spectacular it was a shame to put it in the water. It literally was a piece of art in steel.

The 225-foot supply boat Master Everett will soon be launched by Thoma-Sea Shipbuilders.
A stones’ throw from Thoma-Sea is Lockport Fabrication run by Dickie Adams, Jr. and his father Richard Adams, Sr. The yard has been in operation since 1979. They specialize in 166-foot supply boats for the simple reason that the bayou is not much wider than 166 feet at the point where the shipyard is located. Currently they have one vessel near completion and are starting the hull of a second supply boat.

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