A 245-passenger riverboat being built using a former casino boat's hull will be constructed in Houma by a Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. subsidiary.
Gulf Island LLC said Friday that it signed a contract for the expansion and delivery of the American Countess to the American Queen Steamboat Co.'s fleet. The new paddle wheeler will be built using the hull of the Kanesville Queen, a former gambling vessel built in 1995 and acquired in 2016.
Kirk Meche, Gulf Island's president and chief executive officer, said the work will be done in Houma.
Trade publications reported earlier this year that the American Countess will primarily sail the lower Mississippi River after its 2019 launch.
“We continue to break sales records and incredible demand remains for more capacity on the river with each of our boats continuing to sail full,” American Queen Steamboat Co. Chairman John Waggoner said in a Gulf Island press release Friday.
The company operates three riverboats. The American Duchess is an all-suite paddle wheeler that can carry up to 166 guests. It too was created from a 1995 hull. The Duchess and 450-passenger American Queen sail the Mississippi and tributaries. The American Empress sails the Pacific Northwest.
“American Queen Steamboat Co. has led the market in a renaissance of domestic river cruising and our skilled team is honored to carry on the legacy of shipbuilding in U.S. building the American Countess,” Meche said.
Meche said revenue and man-hours associated with the Countess project will be reported in Gulf Island’s financial results for the quarter ending Sept. 30.
Gulf Island Fabrication Inc. is based in Houston, with fabrication facilities in Louisiana and Texas. The company fabricates steel structures and marine vessels used for oil and gas production and transportation; petrochemical and industrial facilities, power generation; and alternative energy projects.