florida Shipyard to pay $1 million fine   

North Florida Shipyards, Jacksonville, Fla., and its president, Matt Self, will pay the U.S. $1 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act. The charges center around the creation of a front company, Ind-Mar Services, in order to be awarded Coast Guard contracts designated for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs), the Justice Department said in November. To qualify as an SDVOSB, a company must be operated and managed by service disabled veterans and perform at least 51% of the labor. In April, North Florida and Self inked a deal with the Small Business Administration  in which they admitted to having created and operated Ind-Mar in violation of its Coast Guard contracts and SBA statutes and regulations. 


Crowley sells two jones act tankers   

In November, Crowley Maritime’s petroleum services group announced the sale of two 696'x105' Jones Act tankers, the Pennsylvania and Florida, to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. Crowley will continue to manage the vessels with no changes in crewing or operations. The tankers have been under long-term charter since they were built at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and placed into service in 2012 and 2013 respectively.


Grain barge cargo highest since 2010 

As of Nov. 1, year-to-date grain barge tonnages are 13% higher than the five-year average and the highest since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. River conditions are currently adequate for navigation but a drop in levels may cause shoaling situations that will require dredging, the USDA said in its Nov. 6 Grain Transportation Report. As of Nov. 6, there were dredging delays at Mississippi River Locks 27 (near St. Louis). Dredging was being conducted each night with limited passage at Locks 27 during dredging operations. The dredging was expected to be completed by Nov. 9. Barge rates remained above average in early November, with the highest rates in the Mississippi River Locks 15 area, near Davenport, Iowa, where rates are about $46.71 per ton for export-bound grain (70% higher than the five-year average). During the week ending Nov. 1, barge grain movements totaled 838,470 tons, 13.8% higher than the previous week but 2% lower than the same period last year.