Port dedicates new security vessel

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 8, 2005


Managing Editor

RESERVE — The Port of South Louisiana officially dedicated its new Port Security Vessel, the “Accardo,” during a ceremony held on the General Cargo Dock at Globalplex Intermodal Terminal in Reserve, on Wednesday morning.

The PSV Accardo is named after Joseph Accardo Jr., former Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana until April 15, 2005.   Accardo, a lawyer and former state representative, is now the Executive Director of The Port’s Association of Louisiana.

The current Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Joel T. Chaisson hosted the ceremony. 

The event included the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle on the bow of the vessel, by Accardo and his wife, Catherine.

The program included remarks from Dr. Duane Blumberg, Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Economic Department of Economc Development and Captain Frank Paskewich, Commanding Officer of the United States Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in New Orleans. 

Paskewich called the Accardo “impressive” and predicted it “will be the standard for other ports to follow.”

Paskewich also noted his chairmanship of the area’s maritime security committee, which includes federal, state and local governments, law enforcement and the maritime industry. The 120-member committee’s vice-chairman is Mitch Smith, the director of harbor operations for the Port.

Blumberg took note of the “staggering” impact of ports on the economy along the Mississippi River and predicted more prosperity to come, as talks progress in re-opening sugar trade with Cuba.

Accardo quoted from Psalms 107: 23-24 – “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”

Invited guests also included representatives from the Port of South Louisiana Commission and staff, representatives from the Louisiana congressional delegation, United States Coast Guard, state, and local elected officials.

Those officials attending included St. John Parish President Nickie Monica, St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque, St. James Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. and St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr.

The Accardo was constructed at a cost of $850,000, funded by a federal grant of $600,000 and $250,000 from the port itself. The vessel measures 49 feet in length and is capable of speeds of more than 30 knots. 

The Accardo is designed to enhance and support maritime security on the Lower Mississippi River.  The emergency response vessel will patrol the Port of South Louisiana’s 54-mile district in the parishes of St. Charles, St. John, and St. James.