The chief operating officer of Lockport-based Bollinger Shipyards and the family that owns Edison Chouest Offshore have acquired all of the assets and stock of Bollinger — a transaction that involves two powerhouses in Louisiana’s maritime industry.
COO Ben Bordelon, a grandson of the founder who has served in a number of positions at Bollinger and as a board member since 2002, will assume the duties of chairman, president and chief executive officer at Bollinger Shipyards, the company said in a statement for release Tuesday.
Bordelon takes over from his uncle Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, chairman and CEO, and Boysie’s son, Chris Bollinger, president and board member.
Details of Bordelon’s ownership arrangement with the Chouest family and acquisition cost were not disclosed.
The Chouest family’s ownership interest in Bollinger Shipyards aligns two Louisiana family companies with varying operations. Edison Chouest, founded in 1960 as Edison Chouest Boat Rental in Galliano, is the dominant offshore vessel services firm for deepwater oil and natural gas rigs in the Gulf — with international operations and estimates of 10,000 employees.
Bollinger Shipyards is the largest vessel-repair firm in the Gulf of Mexico, with 10 shipyards stretching from New Orleans to Houston, and is a major builder of Coast Guard cutters. The company’s 30 dry docks are key to making rapid repairs to the vessels that serve the offshore oil industry. It employs about 3,000 workers.
Donald G. Bollinger founded the shipyard company in 1946 as Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard Inc. and served as chairman until 1985. His son, Boysie, took over in 1985. Bordelon, as a grandson of the founder, is the third generation of the family to head the company. His mother, Charlotte A. Bollinger, is Bollinger’s executive vice president and corporate secretary.
The largest of Bollinger’s offshore service vessels, known as OSVs, generate lease rates of more than $50,000 a day.
Bollinger’s services include repairs to electric motors and propellers, fabrication, project engineering and management, naval architecture and logistics support. Bollinger also designs and builds offshore oilfield support vessels, ocean-going double-hull barges, tug boats, oil and gas rigs, liftboats, inland waterways push boats and barges.
But Bollinger may be best-known for its considerable expertise in contracting with the federal government and for its political connections — Boysie Bollinger once chaired the Louisiana delegation to the Republican National Convention. His endorsement of Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, drew some criticism during the most recent election.
Bollinger Shipyards has built more than 130 U.S. Coast Guard vessels over the past 30 years. Since 2008, the company has won a total $1.4 billion in contracts for 30 Fast-Response Cutters. The company also has built gambling boats, dredgers and support vessels for the remotely operated vehicles used for deepwater projects, as well as tugs.
Edison Chouest has a fleet of more than 200 offshore vessels and five shipyards in the United States and Brazil. In addition to serving platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, Chouest’s orange- or blue-hulled vessels work off the coasts of Brazil, a market nearly as large as the Gulf, and Africa. Chouest specializes in servicing deepwater projects, which require the largest, most sophisticated vessels. The company also has scientific research vessels and icebreakers, and its supply boats have been chartered by the U.S. Navy.
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