‘Agreement in Principle’ Reached Over Release of Ever Given
ISMAILIA, June 23 (Reuters) – The owners and insurers of a giant cargo ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March have reached agreement in principle in a compensation dispute...
New York-based Bouchard Transportation Company says it has secured financing to start paying its tug and barge crews, including back pay.
“Over the weekend Bouchard was able to close on financing to start paying back vessel wages and meet other outstanding indebtedness, necessary to meet all our obligations,” President and CEO “Mort” Bouchard said in a letter distributed to the media.
“This could not be better news,” he said.
Since the beginning of the year, Bouchard crews across the country have been withheld pay and forced to remain on board their vessels at the directive of the U.S. Coast Guard as Bouchard chased financing to meet its obligations.
“Last week I was happy to inform you that Bouchard Transportation Co Inc. was issued a DOC for 90 days,” Mr. Bouchard said. “And now with financing in place and as we all focus on stabilizing the company, I wish to assure everyone that we will continue to work towards returning the company to fully meeting the high expectations of our clients, vendors and valued employees.”
The “DOC” refers to Bouchard’s Document of Compliance certificate, which is required by the Coast Guard for persons or companies who own certain U.S.-flagged vessels and certifies satisfactory completion of a safety management audit. A spokesman for the Bouchard said the temporary DOC was issued as Bouchard changes classification societies to DNV GL.
“The past two months, Bouchard Transportation Co Inc. has been faced with enormous challenges both financially and operationally,” said Mr. Bouchard.
“Bouchard has the best tug and barges in the industry supported by the best vessel employees, advisors and management.”
Bouchard Transportation’s website says it is the nation’s largest independently-owned ocean-going petroleum barge company, operating 26 tugs and 25 tank barges across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The majority are double-hulled articulated tug and barge units (ATBs). The company was established in 1918 and remains family-owned and run by President and CEO Morton S. Bouchard III, who has been at the helm since 1992.
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