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Louisiana towboats’ heritage stems from family relations, old gearbox

Nov 25, 2013 04:42 PM
LeBeouf Bros. Towing’s 95-foot towboat Karl Senner, built at Bourg Dry Dock. The vessel is named for the founder of marine supply distributor Karl Senner Inc.

LeBeouf Bros. Towing’s 95-foot towboat Karl Senner, built at Bourg Dry Dock. The vessel is named for the founder of marine supply distributor Karl Senner Inc.

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LeBeouf Bros. Towing of Bourg, La., named one of its two new 95-foot towboats Karl Senner for the founder of the marine equipment supply company, Karl Senner Inc. The second boat, Dickie Gonsoulin, is named for LeBeouf President Jon Gonsoulin’s father, who acquired full ownership of LeBeouf Bros. in 2005.

The boats represent the second and third deliveries in a five-boat series designed by Frank Basile of Entech & Associates and built at LeBeouf’s captive shipyard, Bourg Dry Dock. The first boat out was Teddy Meyer in 2011, with the remaining two under construction. Most of the company’s 38-boat fleet consists of 72-footers, primarily pushing two barge tows on the lower Mississippi and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

Capt. Rodney Robichaux at the bridge controls.

“We’re building a few boats with more horsepower and length to give the crew more room for comfort,” said Bobby Barthel, vice president of Bourg Dry Dock. “And we needed a little more hull to get the 2,500 to 2,600 hp for the longer hauls on the upper river (Mississippi).”

Mark Bourgeois, LeBeouf’s vice president, explained that the increased horsepower will allow the longer boats to make up tows of three 297-foot, 30,000-bbl tank barges. He added that the new series is replete with alarm and safety features that exceed current regulations. “And with 38 boats in the fleet, we’re able to use these longer boats to accommodate larger crews with three wheelmen and trainees,” said Bourgeois. “We have an active training program so we need extra bunks for the training crew.”

The first Reintjes gearbox sold in the United States sits on display alongside Karl Senner.

Deck hand Kyndal LeBouef with a Mitsubishi main engine and new Reintjes gearbox.

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