Raymond Viguerie has seen a lot of changes at Intracoastal Iron Works, Bourg, LA. “I started in the shipyard 50 years ago with pick on the end of a broom stick cleaning up,” recalls Viguerie. “Later the old man taught me how to do fitting.”
These days, Viguerie is still at his Intracoastal Iron Works yard full time, but his son Peter performs most of the day-to-day management. With three towboats under construction, there was plenty to keep them both busy. The yard has recently added a new 165-ton ladder boom crane and two 35-ton cherry pickers.
One vessel nearing completion is the 72 ft x 30 ft pushboat Boo Sonier for LeBeouf Brothers Towing, one of the oldest marine towing companies operating on the inland waterways. The pushboat will be the 11th vessel built by Intracoastal Iron Works for LeBeouf Brothers Towing, which is privately held by the Gonsoulin family. The LeBeouf fleet, Bourg, LA, includes 23 towboats and 43 barges for transporting crude oil, clean and heavy oil products.
Also under construction at the shipyard is a similar 72 ft x 30 ft hull and superstructure for D & S Marine Services, Houma, LA. D&S Marine requested a modification to extend the house aft over the steering gear to create a workshop or storage space.
The third towboat taking shape is the first new vessel for the owner R. C. Creppel. “The owner’s son runs their current boat and he happened to pull up alongside of a Lebeouf boat,” Viguerie explains, “He checked out that boat and fell in love with it and then came to see me to order one the same.”
All three vessels building at Intracoastal have the same mechanical Tier II compliant Cummins K38 (M) propulsion engines each delivering 1,000 hp.
The father and son team of Raymond (at right) and Peter Viguerie head the management of Intracoastal Iron Works, Bourg, LA
Viguerie is justly proud of being able to build yet another boat for a large fleet like LeBeouf at the same time as he builds the first new boat for another father-son team. “These are good boats for pushing two 300-foot barges up and down the ‘ditch,’” he says. Viguerie says Intracoastal Iron Works can build up to four boats at a time, “but if I had to cut my quality to build more, I’d quit building. I build a 40-year boat. I built the Senor Picou (the 60 ft x 24 ft towboat is currently operated by D&S Marine Services) and it has been 33 years on the job.”
A towboat of the class being built at the yard would cost about $2.65 million, he explains, allowing for some difference depending on modifications.
With the three 72 ft Mississippi towboats under construction, there has been some interest in a little more size and Viguerie is considering a lager 78 ft x 34 ft push boat.
March 25, 2012