Ms. Lauren

Breaux’s Bay Craft, of Loreauville, La., is one of several crew/supply boat builders on Bayou Teche. It has built a very loyal following with a small group of customers who have depended on this shipbuilder to keep them competitive in a tough market.

Breaux’s Bay Craft recently delivered the third of a three-boat series to Gulf Offshore Logistics, of Mathews, La. Ms. Lauren measures 180 feet by 31 feet and is the longest of the three. As with most crew/supply vessels, the heart of the boat lies in its main engines, four Cummins KTA50 diesels rated at 1,800 hp each and delivering 29 knots light ship and 27 knots with 110 tons.

Ms. Lauren has a DP-2 rating. That means double bow thrusters, which are Thrustmaster 30-inch-diameter tunnel thrusters driven by a pair of Cummins 6CTA8.3-DM diesels rated at 270 hp. Power for the hydraulic cargo pump utilizes one of the tunnel thruster engines.

Electrical power also comes from a pair of Cummins diesels driving Stamford Newage generators rated at 75 kW each.

A ninth diesel engine, a Caterpillar 3306B, powers the fire and rig water transfer pump.

Clear rear-deck dimensions are 110 feet by 26 feet for a deck cargo capacity of 360 long tons. There is seating in the main deck superstructure for 82 persons, who get to enjoy three plasma-screen televisions.

In the forward hull are crew accommodations and a fully equipped galley.

Featured in the pilothouse is a DP-2 system by Beier Radio, of Belle Chasse, La., along with a Furuno GPS, Furuno radar, a NavTex receiver and a pair of Icom VHFs.

Transferable liquids include 53,000 gallons of rig water and 19,000 gallons of fuel delivered by Goulds/Marlow 15-hp pumps.

In July, Breaux’s Bay Craft delivered a very similar vessel to Gulf Offshore Logistics, a 180-footer named Mr. Zachary that was also DP-2 rated and fully ABS classed. The main difference in the two vessels is the power plants: Mr. Zachary has long-stroke Caterpillar 3512 engines each rated at 1,911 hp.

“After Mr. Zachary, we have a 165-foot vessel for Crewboats Inc., and then I am going to build a 165-foot stock design and a 175-foot vessel and go into the market to sell both,” said Roy Breaux Jr., the company’s owner. “So in effect, we have a backlog of one vessel — a lot lower than normal.”

This tactic — building boats on spec — worked last year for Bollinger Shipyards, of Lockport, La., which built a pair of 193-footers this way; Bollinger is now building eight 210-foot supply boats on the same principle, and can market them worldwide because they have SOLAS certification. If a yard can sell boats built on spec, there are definite pluses — “The work force stays on the job,” says Robert Socha, Bollinger’s vice president and marketing manager.

Gulf Offshore Logistics was founded in 2003 with the partnering of JNB Operators and Galliano Tugs. Its president, Joel Broussard, has built a fleet that now consists of seven Platform Supply Vessels including the recently introduced 269-foot Tyler Stephen, seven fast crew/supply vessels ranging from 140 feet to 180 feet, four 100-foot to 110-foot utility boats, and nine tugs, ranging from 3,600 to 10,500 hp.

Breaux’s Bay Craft’s new 180-footer for Gulf Offshore Logistics has a DP-2 rating, with four Cummins KTA50 diesels rated at 1,800 hp each and two Thrustmaster tunnel thrusters, also powered by Cummins diesels.

“We staffed our company with experienced, self-motivated employees who could make a difference when serving a varied customer base,” Broussard said.

Charitable venture
No mention of Broussard and GOL would be complete with out a reference to GOL Shooting, one of several charitable programs conducted by the offshore supply industry with little publicity. Unlike the company’s business focus, this is definitely a land based activity. GOL Shooting began in 2005 as a sport-shooting venue for Broussard, GOL employees and customers. In 2007, memberships were sold, and the club has emerged as a major benefactor to area charities.

The club has a 16-station sporting clays course, a five-stand pavilion and a skeet course, plus undercover areas for food and events. It hosts more than 40 events a year, and in the past four years it has raised more than $1 million for charity while entertaining thousands of shooters.

Ms. Lauren and Mr. Zachary are typical of the crew/supply vessels being built today. The vessels most in demand are 180 to 190 feet long, equipped with DP-2, and typically built in a series of two or more boats. The current list includes four 190-foot vessels that Gulf Craft is building for Seacor Marine, at least four that Breaux Brothers Enterprises is building for Edison Chouest Offshore, a pair of 181-foot vessel recently delivered by Eastern Shipbuilding Group to GulfMark Offshore and a series of four vessels that Midship Marine is building for Bourbon Offshore.

It is difficult to find any crew/supply vessels under construction less than 165-feet long, and construction patterns are likely to remain that way as long as the market is focusing on the deep-water segment. •

By Professional Mariner Staff