Ken HockeKen Hocke
Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has also written for other publications, including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.

Blog Activity

Marine industry stepped up following Katrina

While tens of thousands rushed to get away from Hurricane Katrina's devastation, the marine industry ran toward it. Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall across the Louisiana/Mississippi border. I know many of you are suffering from Katrina fatigue. I don’t blame you. But I think it’s important to remind people of just how valuable the marine industry was to the people of Louisiana and Mississippi following the catastrophe — that’s what it was — a...

Maritime mission to Mars

Barge will help send men to Mars.   NASA has plans to send a robotic science rover to Mars in 2020, with humans to follow about 15 years later. Yet the mission literally couldn’t get off the ground without Conrad Shipyard’s Amelia, La., facility. That’s where NASA’s 310' barge Pegasus has recently finished being refurbished. NASA's Pegasus.The barge, which carried NASA’s space shuttle flights’ external tanks and other hardware, will now carry the core stage of the agency’s Space...

Get with the program

Time is running out to register for the WorkBoat Strategic Leadership Program. Registration for the second year of the WorkBoat Strategic Leadership Program will come to a close on Sept. 1. I encourage you to get onboard before it's too late. Heading into its second year, the program, a joint effort between WorkBoat and Louisiana State University's Executive Education department, is focused on giving mid-level managers the tools necessary to move up in their respective...

Personnel remains No. 1 concern

When the oil and gas industry in the Gulf cycles back around, will there be enough employees to handle the work?  The offshore oil and gas industry has taken a big hit since the price of oil went south months ago. Offshore service vessel companies are stacking vessels like cordwood. Some shipyards in the Gulf are suffering too. Some are still working on newbuild orders, but their repair business has gone to hell. Then there are yards that are closed because the revenue stream has...

Oil patch desperation

Things have deteriorated in the oil patch to the point where people are asking me what I think.   The drop in the price of a barrel of oil is making some in the oil and gas industry a little lightheaded. I just came back from vacation — staycation in this case — and over the past two weeks, I received several calls from friends in the industry asking me what I’ve heard about the price of oil going forward. OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos =...

LNG towboat correction

I made a mistake in a blog and got called on it. Last month, I wrote a blog about when the workboat industry can expect to see LNG-fueled towboats on U.S. waterways. Actually, the towboats in question would be dual fueled (diesel and LNG) vessels. I put the blog together based on a presentation by Ed Shearer of The Shearer Group and John Hatley, Wärtsilä's vice president ship power, at the Inland Marine Expo in St. Louis in June. OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos =...

Follow the marine industry leaders

Future leaders of the marine industry. You’ve heard the expression, “He/She is natural born leader.” Unfortunately, for most of us, leadership is not a right of birth. On the other hand, leadership skills can be learned, and that is the point of the WorkBoat Strategic Leadership Program OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos = 'Middle1'; OAS_sitePage = 'wb/news'; var OAS_RN = new String(Math.random()); var OAS_RNS = OAS_RN.substring(2, 11); document.write('');...

Subchapter When?

Once the final rule for Subchapter M is finally released, barge operators will need to make some tough decisions. The inland waterways industry is still waiting for the Coast Guard’s final Subchapter M rule to be published. They’ve been waiting so long that when "Subchapter When" is finally released it won't be surprising if companies have been lulled into a non-decision funk on such things as the Towing Safety Management System (TSMS). However, it may be impossible to make any...

Are LNG towboats coming soon?

Experts say LNG is going to be used on the inland waterways system very soon. Earlier this year Harvey Gulf International Marine put the first dual-fuel vessel in the U.S. into service. The 302'x64' OSV Harvey Energy has tankage for both diesel fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG). OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos = 'Middle1'; OAS_sitePage = 'wb/news'; var OAS_RN = new String(Math.random()); var OAS_RNS = OAS_RN.substring(2, 11); document.write('');...

Drilling moratorium was necessary

The Gulf of Mexico is a safer place to work since new regulations were put in place following the BP oil spill. I’m now convinced of something I’ve long suspected. The post-Deepwater Horizon moratorium on the issuance of new drilling permits was the right move to make. Now before some of you label me a communist sympathizer, let’s look at the facts. OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos = 'Middle1'; OAS_sitePage = 'wb/news'; var OAS_RN = new...