LaForce At Full Force

Friday, September 14, 2007
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 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.

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