Each year in the marine industry companies are formed, merge, acquired, and many go bankrupt. The past 12 months has been no different. Here are some examples:
• In September, Seacor Holdings Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced the sale of its U.S. harbor towing operations and assets from its Seabulk Towing Holdings Inc. subsidiary to E.N. Bisso & Son Inc., New Orleans, and Bay-Houston Towing Co., Houston. The E.N. Bisso transaction includes 12 harbor towing vessels across ports in Florida and Alabama. Bay-Houston is acquiring eight tugs that operate in Texas along the Sabine Neches Navigation District and in the Port of Lake Charles, La.
• Austal USA’s President Rusty Murdaugh resigned on Aug. 30. He was named president of the Mobile, Ala., shipyard in September 2021 (after serving as acting president since February 2021). No reason was given for his departure.
• Global investment firm Carlyle and private equity firm Stellex Capital Management announced in July that they had completed the sale of Titan Acquisition Holdings to an affiliate of Lone Star Funds. The sale was finalized on June 15, 2023. Titan is comprised of Vigor Industrial LLC, a Portland, Ore., shipbuilding and ship repair company; MHI Holdings LLC, a ship repair and maintenance company based in Norfolk, Va.; and Continental Maritime, San Diego. Key Titan customers include the Navy, Coast Guard, Military Sealift Command, Army, Boeing, cruise lines, fishing fleets, barges, ferry services for local and state governments, and other commercial and U.S. government customers.
• Maritime Partners LLC, Metairie, La., announced in September that that it had acquired Norfolk, Va.-based U.S. Marine Management LLC (USMMI) from Maersk Line Ltd. USMMI is engaged in chartering U.S.-flag tankers and military support vessels, owned and operated by USMMI, to the Military Sealift Command, and the operation and maintenance of U.S. government-owned vessels. USMMI currently operates a fleet of five U.S.-flagged vessels (including one owned maritime support vessel, three owned tankers, and one bareboat chartered tanker).
• Crowley, Jacksonville, Fla., and Seacor Holdings, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., (through its subsidiary Seabulk Tankers Inc.) have formed a joint venture that will integrate their liquid energy and chemical transportation vessels, operations and related services into a new, independent Jones Act service provider, Fairwater Holdings LLC. Fairwater will serve the U.S. domestic market with vessels and marine transportation solutions across the petroleum and chemical trades. Its fleet includes 20 oceangoing, articulated tug-barges and 11 tankers, several under long-term charter. The joint venture will provide crewing and technical management for an additional 21 third-party owned vessels. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.