Gulf Island christens the Rick Calhoun

UPDATED: Injured football player ‘responding’, but still in critical condition
September 30, 2015
Alfreda Richoux
October 6, 2015
UPDATED: Injured football player ‘responding’, but still in critical condition
September 30, 2015
Alfreda Richoux
October 6, 2015

A boat christening in New Orleans last week capped off a year’s worth of work for a local shipbuilding company.

Kentucky-based Marquette Transportation hosted a christening Sept. 20 for its newest boat, the Rick Calhoun. Houma’s own Gulf Island Fabrication built the ship.


The boat was docked near the Hilton Riverside hotel in downtown New Orleans, where partygoers could walk onto the Rick Calhoun and take a tour of the boat. The 10-person crew was on hand to meet christening invitees and talk about the newest addition to Marquette’s fleet.

Larry Sibley, the captain of the boat, said that the new boat provides the latest safety measures.

“Every time you turn around, there’s just something else that’s a safety feature. Fire alarms, now that are automated, anything that goes over a certain degree, it picks up and goes off. You’ve got backup steering, backup flanking, you’ve got all kinds of navigation equipment that’s up-to-date,” he said.


According to specifications provided by Gulf Island, the Rick Calhoun is 180 feet long, with a 48-foot-long beam and a depth of 11.5 feet.

The boat features two 20-cylinder electromotive division (EMD) engines, with each wielding 4,200 horsepower.

Marquette representatives boasted of the job that Gulf Island did. Work on the ship started at Aug. 26, 2014, and finished Aug. 21, 2015. According to Gulf Island sales representative Al Guidry, that fast of a job is unprecedented for the company.


“For that size towboat, yeah, I would say that’s the quickest,” Guidry said.

Marquette CEO John Eckstein called Gulf Island “one of the best yards we’ve ever built with.” Eckstein said the year turnover on the project went beyond expectation.

“Well most people thought they would tell us a year and it would be a year and a half. They told us a year and it was a year,” Eckstein said.


Eckstein called Gulf Island’s work “seamless,” and said the Rick Calhoun has been running for about 30 days with no problems. Guidry said in this case, no news is good news.

“I think in the past, they may have had some issues with some other yards, mechanical issues and stuff like that. But it’s pretty much what you like to hear. You expect to have little knick-knacks, but it’s been relatively quiet, so we’re glad,” Guidry said.

According to Guidry, Gulf Island is finishing two more towboats identical to the Rick Calhoun for Marquette. One is due to be ready in February 2016, with the last following in August of that year. Guidry said there have been talks with Marquette about continuing their business relationship, but have not made any official agreements yet. The top dog at Marquette is clearly considering more work for Gulf Island as well.


“We’ve got two more boats coming out, and we would definitely look at working with them again,” Eckstein said.

Rick Calhoun