Bouchard? Still in business?

Is Bouchard still in business? Well I guess that would depend on an individuals definition of business. Is there one more rabbit to be pulled from the hat? Or have all the rabbits left the building? I see at most 3 tugs moving at any given time when monitoring Marine traffic apps. A second time in a row of being late paying his employees. How many will have to walk off again or refuse to come in, before he decides it’s time to pay what he owes his people? I hope his people get paid before any other entities do that might be requesting payment.


It sounds like another payday has been missed.

Morty is 12+ days late paying his crews, refuses to release 401k monies, and Miller’s Launch is refusing to get crew off even if they have their own cash in hand and no one here is talking about it?


401k money belongs to the employees. Not sure about how the matching funds work (If any) but believe same instrument applies. If things are that rotten there, I would contact administrators of the plan for immediate withdrawal and make a tax free switch to another plan. It’s your money, not Morty’s .I hope for the employees sake that Morty gets this worked out. Not crazy about Bouchard’s practices , but hate to see the devastation of another fleet of Jones Act tugs and their workers. Been through it before, and it sucks out loud for all involved…He, inept management, and maintainence dept brought this on themselves.


I’d hate to see one of the other big tug and barge companies (they are all too big already) swoop in and buy Bouchard, but that’s what probably has to happen.

The skilled employees may leave Bouchard, but they are not going to leave the industry. Bouchard has a lot of good equipment that is going to be operated by someone. It’s not going to leave the Jones Act trade.

The way I hear it, due to oil exports on foreign flag ships (and Jones Act overbuilding?) there are too many large tug barge units chasing too few Jones Act trade 80,000 barrel to 300,000 barrel oil cargos, but there is a shortage of good oil barges under 50,000 barrels available in the market.


In some cases theres a waiting period for money contributed by the employer to vest. Encourages the employee to stay at the company.

Denise is working here in philly, didn’t see any crew member waving white flags to be saved

Go ask a few that are anchored in bay ridge. There’s one barge out at bay ridge that has one man on board. He has officially quit and bouchard is holding him hostage.


Denise??hmmmm??? And just what did it take for the Denise to raise anchor and start heading to Philly? Any last minute hiccups before final departure? Any unusual discussions or concerns? Any last minute crew adjustments for that departure to happen? I mean since your talking about no one waving white flags and such.

Bouchard is in deep doodoo, yes , there will be a delay to transfer whatever assets said employees have, to make it a tax penalty free transfer. I am not familiar with Bouchard’s “Retirement Plan”.Perhaps someone can enlighten me. But sooner the process of switching out of assets occurs, the better. IF another Jone’s Act carrier buys them out, so be it. The mariners that work/or have worked there need to protect whatever asset’s they have earned and have left on the books. Yes , there is a vesting period for a lot of plans, but vesting for zero equals zero. Your (employees contributions) are worth what you put in and any gain while in the plan is yours , Period

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Hell if I know

Been through four company changes, the same guys still ran the same boats. The benefits and rules changed each time. To put it in simpler terms, the Indians stayed the the same, someone had to run the boats, no matter who owned us. The “Chiefs” had to look over their shoulder. Glad I am retired now. We have far fewer Teepees now. Lucky to get out when I did.

He should call the coast guard and report this to them.

Abandonment, kidnapping, unlawful detainment… something applies here I’m sure.

I am rather amazed that no maritime lawyer hasn’t hired a boat to visit the few (presumably) stranded and unpaid crew members, signed them up for representation and petitioned a federal court to place a maritime lien for wages on the said vessels. I am pretty sure the U.S. marshals would have the boats tied up in a New York minute. Any legal eagles out there looking for some business? If the Bouchard crews were still represented by a union this would have taken place as soon a crew-member went unpaid or a check bounced and most certainly if a payment to one of the union’s benefit plans had been missed.

Wasn’t there a thread about a ship detained on West Coast with an unpaid and abandoned union crew? It took months to resolve. I can’t remember the ship.

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Anyone can file a maritime lien for wages (or whatever) with the USCG Documentation office in West Virginia for a small fee.

Sending a copy of the lien to the owner and the bank that finances the vessel along with a letter demanding payment of wages may produce results. This may result in being firing and being paid, or being firing with no pay, followed by the company filing for bankruptcy.

If a lawsuit is filed for wages and other claims, it is possible to file with a request to have the vessel immediately “arrested” by the US Marshal, without any notice to the owner. I’m not sure what the current rules require, but typically an arrest can be authorized 24/7 by a clerk or magistrate without any hearing.

However, the U.S. Marshal will not arrest the vessel until the plaintiff posts a bond to pay for the care of the vessel by a “substitute custodian.” The substitute custodian will sometimes tie the vessel up at a shipyard dead ship, or sometimes hire the crew to tend the ship at anchor. The Marshal will pay the substitute custodian from the bond, if the bond gets used up, the Marshal will release the vessel. The bond requirement makes it impractical for a seaman to have a vessel arrested for nonpayment of wages.

In theory, seamen are “wards of the court” and the courts are supposed to look out for them, but the reality is quite different. Most judges do not like seamen, or seamen’s claims, at best they don’t give a damn about seamen. Most judges do not know anything about maritime law, or its special rules. They view seamen’s wage claims as unfamiliar chickenshit little cases that are a pain in the ass.

Generally, a company that repeatedly cannot pay its crew ends up filing for bankruptcy. A company may operate under bankruptcy for years, but my observation is that vessel owners often get shut down and liquidated within a few months.

Employee’s wages have a high priority for payment in bankruptcy, but employees need lawyers to enforce their wage claims in court. Lawyers for other creditors will fight wage claims. It’s unlikely that a bankruptcy judge would award any type of maritime wage penalties or attorney’s fees because In reality, those expenses would be born by creditors, not the bankrupt employer. Bankruptcy judges can void or enforce union contracts. It will usually take months to get paid your wages and you will have significant attorney’s fees to pay. Often, it make sense to settle your claim for less and move on.

Working for an insolvent company is a gamble where a seaman usually ends up losing. It’s probably best to leave ASAP and just get a new job. However, staying can sometimes result in promotion as others leave, and higher pay with better benefits when a new employer takes over.


I believe you are referring to Transatlantic Line’s M/V Transatlantic. The MEBA won a NLRB certification election to represent all officers except the Captains and Chief Engineers. The MEBA was in the process of negotiating a contract but that never came to fruition when the company went under.

Yes! I think it was TransAtlantic. Why can’t I find that thread? It seemed pretty bad for the abandoned crew at the time. But as an MSC chartered ship, wasn’t the crew already covered by a union?

And everyone gets on foreign flags, but where is MLC when its Americans? Maybe the US flag should take a long look inside and realize that they are not at the top of standards. Items like this, plus their detention rate is atrocious. Money can’t buy dignity.

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