Bankruptcy decision little help for barge

Proceedings in federal bankruptcy court appear to have accomplished nothing in facilitating removal of the barge overturned in the Charenton Navigation and Drainage Canal for more than 13 months now.

St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin told the West St. Mary Port Commission Tuesday that liens against the barge are still snarling efforts to have the derelict removed. It overturned there in late April 2010, when being delivered to T. Moore Services LLC for salvage.

Naquin said the bankruptcy court hearing was attended by no others beside himself. The court turned the barge over to Xtreme Salvage of Houston.

However, Naquin said he contacted Xtreme Salvage and they said ``they have to make sure all of the liens are free and clear. Their attorney contacted about four or five people that do still have liens on the barge...and Xtreme said no way they'll touch the barge as is.''

He then contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking them to ``step up to the plate, and they said the same thing, no, they're not going to touch it, if they get it out they might have $5 million worth of liens.''

Naquin said he expects the barge will be sent by the bankruptcy court to sheriff's sale where the ``highest bidder will get the barge free of any liens. It'll take about two months for that to happen.''

Commissioner Wayne Stevens said he thought bankruptcy court proceedings would be the final solution to having the barge removed. Naquin said he was under the same impression, but the result was different than expected. Remaining liens are around $200,000, he said. The barge is worth about $750,000.

Parish government has been advised by legal counsel not to remove it because of the liens, Naquin said.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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