Port to buy second security vessel

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005


Managing Editor

LAPLACE — With the success of the PSV Accardo under its belt during Hurricane Katrina operations, the Port of South Louisiana is looking to expand its fleet with a second port security vessel.

The Accardo, named for former executive director Joseph Accardo Jr., was dedicated in August and saw much service after Katrina, assisting the U.S. Coast Guard and also industries and the riverfront warehouse fire in New Orleans.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the port commission, Director of Port Operations Mitch Smith explained the need for the construction and purchase of the vessel, which would be built at the same shipyard as the Accardo, at Sea Ark Marine in Monticello, Ark.

The as-yet unnamed vessel will be slightly larger than the 49-foot Accardo and able to sleep four crewmen. Construction and delivery would be performed in 240 days, Smith said.

“Also, we can get a 10 percent reduction in the cost, because Sea Ark is on the federal supply list,” Smith said.

Funding would come from an $880,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Part of that grant money, as well, would fund new electronic surveillance equipment, valued at $30,000, for the Accardo.

The purchase was approved in a motion from Lawrence Jackson and seconded by Sheila Bonnette.

In other activity, Executive Director Joel Chaisson said Port Operations were still assisting the Coast Guard and also working with the American Red Cross.

Dock activity has picked up again, at both the general cargo dock and the bulk dock, with more expected due to the shutdown of the downriver port facilities after the Aug. 29 hurricane.

The Port had also hosted a reception for U.S. Rep. Charles Melancon, where they received a briefing on his efforts to secure more funding for port development.

A resolution was also approved to seek financing for construction of the Port’s new administrative office building.