Settoon Towing marks $115 million expansion

PIERRE PART — Gov. Bobby Jindal, joined by Settoon Towing LLC President and CEO Russ Settoon, christened the M/V Fred A. Settoon towboat Friday and marked the creation of 135 new permanent jobs, at a salary of $81,000, plus benefits, during a three-year capital expansion that will total $155 million.

Jindal and members of the Settoon family dedicated the latest boat to join the fleet, one that’s named for the family business pioneer, Fred Settoon. The nearly 100-foot vessel, built at a cost of more than $4 million, joins a Settoon fleet that now numbers more than 50 vessels and 110 barges. The company has completed 70 percent of the $155 million expansion that, by 2012, will see the commissioning of nearly 50 boats and barges to Settoon Towing’s business of transporting petrochemical products along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee river systems.

“We took office with a mission of helping Louisiana’s existing business grow their companies, create new jobs and ultimately, strengthen our economy,” Jindal said. “Settoon Towing is a perfect example of that mission. Successful, home-grown companies like Settoon Towing are a key reason why Louisiana continues to lead the U.S. in the production of crude oil and continues to produce thousands of private-sector jobs for our state’s energy economy.”

Settoon Towing now employs 282 people and the company’s corporate headquarters is located on Belle River near Pierre Part, its operations headquarters is located in Houma and a business development office is located in Houston. Since 2009, the marine transportation company also has supported, on average, 50 construction jobs along the Gulf in the assembly of its shipyard orders. Of the 135 jobs created by the expansion, 94 are Louisiana residents.

“The christening of the M/V Fred A. Settoon highlights the aggressive growth we have pursued over the last four years,” said Russ Settoon. "This vessel is one of many new vessels built recently under our expansion program moving us into new services and larger markets. The strength and size of our fleet represents the continued tradition of excellence at Settoon Towing LLC.”

The company, which supports implementation of new U.S. Coast Guard safety regulations for the towing industry, develops boats that meet or exceed Coast Guard standards, and Settoon Towing operates one of the youngest fleets in the industry. In partnership with Fletcher Technical Community College in Houma, Settoon Towing has helped bring the college’s wheelhouse simulator to tug status and has donated a tank barge for training. The simulator helps new and veteran captains train for challenging bridge, water current and river traffic conditions they’ll encounter on the nation’s waterways.

About Settoon Towing

Created in 1996 from the roots of a family shipyard and oilfield construction business, Settoon Towing serves primarily energy industry customers, and it provides marine transport services along the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee river systems. Its fleet numbers more than 50 boats and 110 barges.

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