Rigdon Marine To Build New Supply Boat Fleet

Larry Rigdon, a veteran of the offshore oil industry, has launched a new shipping company that will introduce a new breed of environmentally friendly vessels designed for offshore oil support in the Gulf of Mexico and international markets.

Under an agreement concluded in November with Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co. of Mobile, Alabama, Rigdon Marine LLC will build ten, 210-foot state-of-the-art, diesel-electric driven ships that will meet the ever-changing requirements and demands of oil companies for a cost-effective, high specification platform supply vessel for the Gulf market, Rigdon said. The ships were designed jointly with Guido Perla & Associates of Seattle. They will feature electric motors to drive 360-degree azimuthing thrusters, use less diesel fuel than conventional direct diesel-driven propulsion systems and produce much less pollution.

Each vessel will be equipped with a DP2 level dynamic position capability to hold a precise position for delicate and risky maneuvering or docking procedures with offshore oil rigs and other floating equipment. DP2 is the latest generation of dynamic positioning technology, and will be certified by the American Bureau of Shipping.

The vessels are intended to excel in supporting deepwater operations, and are designed to maintain a speed of 13 knots under fully loaded conditions, up to three knots faster than existing vessels in the Gulf fleet. Spread over a year, the additional speed would add up to greater fuel and cargo delivery efficiency, Rigdon said. The new vessel design provides the liquid mud tank capacity and delivery capabilities typically found only in much larger vessels. They will be equally at home serving deepwater oil production, shallow water jackup rigs and mating perfectly with the new deepwell jackup rigs just beginning to enter service.

Launching Rigdon Marine is the culmination of Rigdon's 28-year career in the offshore oil industry. Rigdon, a former executive vice president of Tidewater Inc., watched the offshore boat business evolve and adapt to changing conditions in the pursuit of offshore oil. Realizing the need for a new standard of performance, Rigdon decided to form his own company. His goal is to have Rigdon Marine certified under the strict, high standards of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000, which would easily exceed the minimum ISM (International Safety Management Code) standards.

The design and capabilities of the new Rigdon Marine vessels fit the demanding requirements of developing markets around the globe. Rigdon anticipates that some of the vessels will eventually find service in both domestic and international markets.

Rigdon Marine LLC is a privately held company headquartered in New Orleans and will initially create 160 new jobs for the area. Financing support has been obtained through a cooperation agreement with a major European firm.