Bollinger Reopens All 11 Yards After Hurricane Ida
Hurricane Ida significantly impacted Southern Louisiana's maritime industry, including Bollinger Shipyards, which operates 11 sites across the state. Bollinger says that its yards in Port Fourchon, Larose, Lockport, and Houma suffered significant damage from the Category 4 storm, tied for the title of most powerful on record in Louisiana.
"Each year brings a new storm season, and with it, its own unique set of challenges – this year has been no different. But to know our workers is to understand the strength and resiliency of the Cajun people," said Bollinger President and CEO Ben Bordelon. "Despite the devastation and loss suffered throughout South Louisiana, the community has rallied, and today we're proud to welcome our workforce back to our yards across the state."
The company says that its Lockport facility sustained damages but is already back up and working on the U.S. Coast Guard's Fast Response Cutters, the midsize patrol vessels that can be found in ports and coastal waters around America. Despite the disruption, Bollinger Lockport is ahead of schedule for the next vessel in the series.
The company's employees have also experienced considerable disruption. A number of them lost their homes and personal property in the storm, and many remain without access to electricity and running water. In cooperation with its partners and customers, Bollinger has set up an employee relief fund to help cover qualified expenses. The fund is administered by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, a local leader in distributing disaster relief.
"When my grandfather founded this company 75 years ago, he knew that taking care of employees and treating them like family was critical to ultimately delivering quality products to our customers. That's why creating the Employee Relief Fund was a no-brainer," said Bordelon.
Bollinger is back up and running, along with most of the region's port facilities and waterways, but there are still some significant impediments to maritime commerce in Lafourche Parish.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have identified 85 wrecked or grounded vessels in Bayou Lafourche, including OSVs, fishing vessels, crewboats, and houseboats. The waterway is still closed north of the town of Leeville, and the response team - including the U.S. Navy's Supervisor of Salvage (SUPSALV) - is working to assess the wreckage before moving forward with salvage operations.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is still closed along several key stretches near Barataria due to "severe shoaling," and the Corps of Engineers will be conducting dredging to clear it. The Houma Navigation Canal has fully reopened after repairs to the Bubba Dove floodgate.