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May 17, 2004

Forty year old gets major makeover at Bollinger

"One of the really gratifying aspects of ship repair and conversion is the satisfaction we get by being able to give new service life to vessels. And that's exactly what we did with the 40 year-old GUARDIAN, said Allen Stein, operations manager of Bollinger Quick Repair, in Harvey, Louisiana.

The 150-foot by 35-foot by 20-foot GUARDIAN, originally named GALE B. was built by Southern Shipyard in Slidell, La., in 1963. It was owned by Midland Enterprises (Ohio River Company) and was part of a tug/barge unit with the hopper barge MARTHA B.

Midland sold the barge to Moran about three years ago and the tug was on the market when it was acquired by Velvet Maritime, LLC, Hahnville, La."It was in good shape with a good purchase price," said Andre Ledoux, president of Velvet Maritime. "It had marketable power that we wanted to upgrade to meet new regulatory requirements, practically new Lufkin gears, a good Detroit Diesel auxiliary engine package, good Markey deck equipment, a raised pilothouse and was not undersized or oversized for blue water operations."

When asked why he chose Bollinger to repower and make upgrades to the tug, Ledoux said, "My dad, Raymond Ledux is a 33-year veteran of the marine business. He founded, owns and operates Velvet Marine Systems and Offshore Supply Ships, Inc. He has had many vessels serviced at several of Bollinger's repair yards and has an excellent, long-term business relationship with Bollinger's Dave Marmillion. That, and Quick Repair's location on the Harvey Canal just off the Mississippi River was very advantageous to us."

Bollinger Quick Repair drydocked the tug and began the task of repowering first by disconnecting all exhaust, cooling, fuel and lube piping from the two main engines. Then they cut the exhaust stacks off and removed the main engines.

The engine foundations were modified to accommodate two new owner-supplied Caterpillar 3606 diesels developing a total of 4,640 HP that were mated to the boat's Lufkin gears with a ratio of 5.818:1. The port and starboard tailshafts were reconditioned and ABS inspected.

While other work was under way, Bollinger's propeller shop reconditioned the port and starboard propellers by fairing up all blades, welding nicks and cracks, checking and correcting pitch, grinding, balancing and polishing all blades.

Steering rudders, bulwarks and rub rails were cropped and sections of the port and starboard ballasts were renewed as necessary. Sea valves were removed, inspected and replaced and the sea chest screens were replaced after cleaning and painting.

The engines cooling water system was upgraded with two new Fernstrum coolers with Bollinger-built cooler guards. Installation of several owner-provided upgrades to the tug were carried out, such as new speed log and transducer , as well as a Global Maritime Distress & Safety System (GMDSS), provided and installed by ESI.

Additional work was done on the stuffing boxes, steering rudder trunks, rudder linkages, box vents, stern fuel vents, exhaust system, bilge, ballast and fire system, anchor chain and locker and deck boards.

Ledux said, "We are a new company and the GUARDIAN is our first boat and therefore our flagship. Our goal is to grow at a planned pace with similar tugs so that we can provide first class vessels and service to our customers. And that is why we chose Bollinger to bring this vessel up to current and expected regulatory requirements."

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