Bollinger opens after Hurricane Ida. every 11 yards again


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Image courtesy of Bollinger Shipyards

Published 09/27/2021 12:30 AM by

The maritime executive

Hurricane Ida had a significant impact on the maritime industries in southern Louisiana, including Bollinger Shipyards, which operates 11 locations across the state. Bollinger says its Port Fourchon, Larose, Lockport and Houma shipyards suffered significant damage from the Category 4 storm, which is tied for the title of strongest on record in Louisiana.

“Every year brings a new storm season and with it its own unique challenges – this year was no different. But knowing our people means understanding the strength and resilience of the Cajun people, ”said Bollinger President and CEO Ben Bordelon. “Despite the devastation and losses across southern Louisiana, the community has recovered and today we are proud to have our workforce back in our shipyards across the state.”

The company says its Lockport facility has been damaged but is already back in operation, working on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutters, the medium-sized patrol vessels found in ports and coastal waters across America. Despite the interruption, Bollinger Lockport is ahead of schedule for the next ship in the series.

The company’s employees have also experienced significant disruptions. Some of them lost their homes and personal belongings in the storm, and many have no access to electricity and running water. In cooperation with its partners and customers, Bollinger has set up an employee relief fund to cover qualified expenses. The fund is administered by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a local leader in disaster relief distribution.

“When my grandfather started this company 75 years ago, he knew that taking care of the employees and treating them like family was crucial in order to ultimately deliver quality products to our customers. So starting the Employee Relief Fund was a breeze, ”said Bordelon.

Waterway blockades

Bollinger is back in operation, along with most of the area’s port facilities and waterways, but there are still some significant barriers to maritime trade in the Lafourche parish.
The US Coast Guard and US Army Corps of Engineers have identified 85 wrecked or aground vessels in Bayou Lafourche, including OSVs, fishing vessels, crew boats and houseboats. The waterway is still closed north of the town of Leeville, and the response team – including the U.S. Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage (SUPSALV) – are working to investigate the wreck before the salvage operations continue.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is still closed on several key sections near Barataria due to “severe shallows” and the Corps of Engineers will be doing dredging to clear it up. The Houma Navigation Canal has been fully reopened after repairs to the Bubba Dove lock gate.

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