Harvey Gulf International Changing with the Times By Don Sutherland By anybody's definition, a fleet of 50 vessels makes an impressive armada, and that's what brothers Dickie and Robert Guidry had by the 1970s, after taking the helm of Harvey Canal Towing, the company founded by their father. And by anybody's definition, that large collection of vessels -- all inland towboats -- represented a considerable growth, from the single model-bow tug the father, Numa Guidry, and his partners had started with in 1955. So what did the second-generation Guidrys do with their massive flotilla? They sold it, and went into a new line of maritime service. You could read this as the beginning of a sort of tradition of Harvey Gulf International Marine. Besides being family-run, now by the third generation of Guidrys in a proudly hands-on spirit, the company has said the heck with the laurels, let's change as the times and the shape of the industry change. "Dad parlayed the proceeds from the sale of the inland towboats into three offshore tugs," says Shane J. Guidry, President and CEO, "so by 1972 there were one 3600 hp and two 4200 hp." From there developed the current fleet of tugs. There are ten at present, rated from 9000 hp to 16,500 hp, and more on the way, configured for anchor-handling and other heavy stuff tugs do on the oil patch. Then, by 2000, "we could see that larger rigs and semi-submersibles were being built," said Mr. Guidry. Deepwater drilling had begun to develop in the Gulf during the late 1970s, but by the turn of the century was taking off as new technology improved its prospects. More and bigger rigs need more and bigger services. "My family and I jumped right in with more new tugs, and our first supply vessels" -- the 240-ft. Harvey Explorer and Harvey Provider, the 265-ft. Harvey Discovery which entered service in mid-2006, and the recently launched Harvey Spirit, a 280-ft. MPV (MultiPurpose Vessel). A new 16,.500 hp anchor-handling tug is due next September, since "offshore towing and offshore supply are like one hand washing the other." Mr. Guidry points out that besides the "delivery truck" aura assigned generally to OSVs, there's plenty of other things they do well, too. They can make great dive boats, or handle any other task requiring the stability of a 60-ft. beam and the utmost precision in maneuvering and positioning. The Harvey Discovery adds a moon pool for divers and a 65-ton knuckleboom crane that was specially modified for its upcoming tasks. It would be used to put overboard various subsea production and service equipment, and to assist in repair of deepwater pipeline problems. It would launch and retrieve remotely operated vehicles, and be used with those vehicles in the inspection of pipeline routes. It would be used to install the umbilicals that power and operate the valves and production equipment that are part of subsea constructions, and it can still carry 8,800 bbl. of liquid mud and 8,000 cu. ft. of dry bulk mud or cement. So Harvey Gulf's campaign for further growth is well underway. "There are nineteen new large semis and drill ships expected to come to the Gulf in the next few years," and Mr. Guidry expects to be ready for them.While a contract is always nice to have in hand when ordering a newbuild, the Discovery was the first of the Harvey Clearly designed with crew well-being in mind, the 150 x 45 x 18.5-ft. Harvey War Horse, anchor-handling tug rated at 16,500 hp, shows-off its main work area as it glides into berth at Port Fourchon. (Photo: Don Sutherland) 18 · MarineNews · December, 2006
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