The M/V Michele Gronsoulin alongside at the LaForce Shipyard in Bayou LaBatre.
There isn’t much space to spare in Bayou LaBatre?s LaForce Shipyard these days. Back-to-back orders are processed on a near assembly line schedule. A half dozen or more push boats in various stages of completion surround a single OSV. In early September a towboat was alongside the fitting out dock waiting paint
and finishing details. At the end of the same pier a spanking new 74 x 28-ft. boat with black hull, red house and green trim awaited her crew.
On board, LaForce workers scrambled with the final touches while the owner’s representative, Mark Bourgeois
, was busy checking the details in advance of leaving the yard. The boat’s crew would arrive from the LeBeouf Bros
. Towing base at Bourg near Houma, La., to sail the boat back home for a proper naming ceremony.
The MV Michele Gonsoulin is the fourth towboat to the same design that LeBeouf has taken from the LaForce yard. Like the earlier boats, MVs Merle Gonsoulin
, Sydney Ann
and Matherw James
, the new boat is powered by a pair of Cummins (CMI)
KTA38 engines. These engines, rated at 850 hp each, are turning five-blade 74-in. props through Reintjes WAF464 gears with 5.905:1 ratios. As with her three sisters, the MV Michele Gonsoulin will
work pushing oil barges
on the inland waterways.