Bouchard B-255 USCG Hearing


These three along with Donahue, Cohen and Anderson sold their soul to the devil for a paycheck, and not a steady one.


Cohen testified that he quit in early 2018 for personal reasons. He was a Safety Coordinator when he quit. He has since been rehired as the Safety Manager. Funny how that works.


Wonder who Serpico is?


He’s a crooked cop!


Please remark on events that you personally experienced, not what you hear. Think that’s the first rule of sailing, yes?

Using an oil company’s guidelines for safety and training, doesn’t compare to towing company standards. Oil companies have a reputation of superceding regulations, while towing companies aim to meet the industry standard, coincidently, set by the USCG.


Right. The first thing that comes to mind is Exxon Valdez and deepwater horizon.

No. That’s the whole point. The industry standard of blowing up barges seems to only be happening at one company. 2 people died here man and this is a repeat offender. This has a hell of alot more to do with than with industry standards, to anyone following this hearing, the picture painted about this company is getting clearer and clearer. That picture is quite disturbing. Leadership from the top on down allowed it.


USCG please put a no sail order on all Bouchard vessels until they can be proven reliable and safe for sea/cargo operations. No one else should be killed at this company.


Why is your comment directed at me? Don’t tell me what the “rules of sailing” are. I sleep in bed comfortably every evening because I know I’ve dedicated my life to safety in the marine industry.


Completely apologize!!! The response was meant to the reply by Dirty Coast.


Interesting. Case in US Court Eastern District has two ex office employees suing Bouchard for wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination. Alleges hostile environment, verbal abuse and in one case the former purchasing agent alleges that there was a purchasing freeze ordered by the owner that included safety related equipment. All in the summer of 2017.


He was the only cop that wasn’t crooked. He was the original whistle blower who rocked the NYPD. He was set up to be killed by his brother officers, shot in the face, survived and eventually left the country.


Oh I’m aware of the real Frank Serpico and the Pacino depiction in the movie. I’m also aware of a hilarious episode of Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia (season 3, episode 14, Bums making a mess of the city) where the gang dress up as cops, which was the photo in the reference.

Check it out sometime when your done being cryptic and have a laugh


During the El Faro Hearings a lot of us said they should question the ways of the office and how they treated and acted towards the sea going crews. Well, to me this is what they did.

During today’s hearing it came out that Morty told the BC that he should not have allowed the CG onboard the B-275 (IIRC). The BC also said that he was told NOT to mention any leaks and not tell them where the After Rack Compartment was located. The CG went onboard test what was shown, found no problem then left. THe got a call from the Whistleblower telling them they tested the wrong areas, so back the went and surprise the found the HOT Compartment!

I never sailed for Bouchard but I did do repair work on the going back to the 80’s. My Family through business knew all of the Bouchard’s going back several generations and I’ve personally met Morty and Bobby. Needless to say their attitudes towards those sailing for them is well known as are the drunken firings of entire crews!

After watching this hearing, I’m glad that I’m retired as life is going to change for those working on Tugs and Barges in Oil Service. I would not be surprised to hear that the USCG boards every Bouchard Barge everytime they hit a dock!

Hopefully when the report comes out the CG does the right thing and nail them for their now known practices of browbeating employees into not reporting things such as near misses.


From gCaptain: Bouchard Barge No. 255 Hearing Part 5: ‘No one could say they didn’t know about the problems

By Barbara Liston (Clearview Post) – Two barge captains for Bouchard Transportation in 2017 walked off the job over concerns about the condition of their oil tanker within days of the explosion of another Bouchard tanker off the coast of Texas, killing two seamen, a witness testified during the U.S. Coast Guard casualty investigation.

Keith Hardwick, a third mate on Bouchard Barge No. B245, said the first captain, Eric Hinman, walked off after Bouchard management ordered the vessel to shove off from a shipyard in Tampa and head for Houston before barge repairs underway at the shipyard were completed.

As he departed, Hinman forwarded to the crew copies of emails in which he reported a list of seven unresolved problems with the barge to management, and management’s response.

“While we were still in the shipyard just before our barge sailed, our captain Eric Hinman told the company he would not sail that barge and walked off the vessel. And just before he walked off the vessel, he gave us these emails and told us to keep them just in case something happens so there is proof that he brought up these issues with the barge,” Hardwick testified.


There’s still many questions here besides what Bouchard is going to get whacked with:

  1. So there was a fear of management, and everyone testifying to it. Wich crewmember contacted the DPA about safety concerns? Bouchard has been ISM certified around 10 years, and marine personnel get grilled by auditors about the DPA, the role of the DPA, and it’s use. Bouchard’s lawyer isn’t doing them any justice by not asking that. Again, with the ISM, and it’s three main functions…how are these fictitously labeled captains and mates not derelict in their duties, in operating the equipment? Lives, Environment, and Equipment…right?

  2. So these barges are sailing with incomplete repairs done out of the shipyard allegedly. Which ABS inspector signed their certificates, and what percent of the blame is the USCG going to issue to them? I’ve never had a shipyard period and received our certificates without hydro tests, and the other inspections that are mentioned? ABS should definitely be at a percentage of fault, and the inspector should be facing charges. The USCG shares in this by delgating classification to a For-profit organization.

  3. There was a whistleblower about an unsafe condition and a crewmember purposely steered the USCG away from the dangerous situation. Why does this crewmember have a credential now, and what charges are brought upon them? Wouldn’t be any different than the military and following an illegal order. You would face UCMJ action.

  4. Again, would a licensed maritime officer behaved in the same mariner as just an endorsed seaman? The USCG needs to rethink who is signing DOI’s and taking responsibility for dangerous cargo transfers, as well as the equipment used. A licensed officer can also be held more accountable for his/her actions.

Everyone on here is hoping and praying that Morty gets it. You all are forgetting who is indirectly going to take the biggest hit. Bouchard will get spanked hard, and probably be required to have a new management team in place. Bouchard will get a huge fine, which will probaby be covered with the American P & I. Bouchard’s reputaton will take a huge hit, and they will struggle to obtain and retain oil contracts. They’ll simply have to get contracts by running at a loss, until time goes by, and what ever probationary period they face goes away. Who takes that hit? Ultimately it will be the mariners working at Bouchard. There are a lot of really knowledgeable and good seaman there, just trying to make a living.


First off, the USCG does not and can not “delegate” the classing of any vessel. Class is not a statutory requirement. It is a transaction between the owner and Class Society. The USCG has absolutely nothing to do with who the owner decides to use to Class their vessel/barge.

Second, the barge was not enrolled in ACP. The USCG issued the COI based on inspections and surveys conducted by USCG Inspectors.

If you’re going to assign blame, it would help to have the a basic understanding of the situation.


I really think it’s you that doesn’t have the basic understanding. It shows in the reply!


Who’s to say that the Barge Captain that took the USCG around under instruction not to show them certain areas didn’t immediately call the USCG when he got off shift to inform them of the situation on board? It’s being made pretty clear that the company as a whole has/had a punitive and retaliatory stance on squeaky wheels…


Here are the six articles from hearing:

Part 1: ‘I Was Hearing Blasts Every Second

Part 2: ‘He Slipped Out of His Life Jacket and Sank to the Bottom’

Part 3: Conflicting Testimony and Disputed Phone Calls

Part 4: Former Bouchard VP ‘Shocked’ at Condition of Barge 255

Part 5: ‘No one could say they didn’t know about the problems’

Part 6: Final Day – ‘Sitting On a Big Powder Keg’

 The DPA and ADPA and the Owner were notified by multiple vessel employees about unsafe conditions on multiple barges and received responses with veiled threats about retaining their jobs. No corrective measures were taken until the Coast Guard stopped them as a result of a whistleblower coming forward.
  When finished all required work and testing in the shipyard, the Coast Guard and ABS will upon completion issue new paperwork to allow the vessel to return to service. If after they depart, the owner releases more work and chooses not to notify either regulatory body they can leave if they choose without testing the new work, in this case the pipeline expansion joints.
  If you start prosecuting the whistleblower, you will not see many more of these people come forward. Once aware of a problem not of their doing, they notify their office and are told they made a mistake in reporting this, their job threatened and nothing more is done. Now you want to prosecute them for coming forward and reporting the condition to the Coast Guard.
   Their were three oversight agencies involved in this hearing. Only one (ABS), was there to cover their own butt by bringing in fluff witnesses to explain how this couldn't happen on their watch. They did not seem to consider this a learning experience and try to find out what caused the explosion.
   Due to their reputation and constant turmoil and turnover, the talent level at Bouchard shoreside and aboard the vessels has been watered down. There are numerous other operators who have benefited greatly by this.