Blood on Brown water Ch.2 f
BLOOD ON BROWN WATER Chapter 2 (f)
BIG DEALS IN THE MAKING
Collins' stroke was probably the last thing on the minds of the executives of the large corporation that he worked for as December 2000 turned into January 2001. Only recently had R&B Falcon consolidated when they were forced to turn over control of their vessels to another large company.Delta Towing ,LLC, operators of a 202 vessel fleet of inland tugs and towboats, offshore tugs, crew boats, and service barges, with ten crew boats under construction. Transocean Sedco Forex merged with R&B Falcon Corp.creating a firm with a mega fleet and world wide operations.At the time both Transocean Sedco and R&B Falcon were Houston, Texas based firms. Transocean Sedco Forex while based in Houston, is a foreign owned corporation.Under the terms of the Jones Act they were required to either spin off the R&B Falcon marine transportation fleet or limit its ownership to no more than 25 percent.
The requirements were met by the formation of Delta Towing LLC as a joint venture between Transocean Sedco Forex, R&B Falcon, and Edison Chouest Offshore. While the mergers, ultimately integrating the R&B fleet into the Chouest organization improved the fortunes of R&B Flacon, Collins Verret's employer, the disabled Captain would only know grief from the improved financial power of his employer.
The full story of the merger is recorded in the WATERWAYS JOURNAL in a story by Bill Evans on Feb. 19, 2001, pages 3,6. This story is reprinted in its entirety in the bound volume of BLOOD ON BROWN WATER but intellectual property considerations require us to not repeat it here as we have no separate permission from the WWJ relative to this serialization. There is a link to the Waterways Journal in our News service Section and they have an archive. The short version is that before a law suite was filed on behalf of Capt. Collins Verret his former employer R&B Falcon became part of the fleet of Edison Chouest Offshore which operates more than 120 vessels world wide and employs 3,000 people. All of the wheeling and dealing provided no care or comfort to Capt. Colin Verret who was disabled and turned out to not very verdant pastures.
In December 2000, Antoine Collins Verret was a 59 year old resident of Houma, Louisiana, a life long licensed mariner and captain of the anchor -handling tugboat M/V MOHAWK EAGLE , a vessel then operated by R7B Falcon Marine. In January 2001, R&B Falcon and two other marine companies became Delta Towing LLC.
Earlier, in late 2000,mate Leroy "V" began to work aboard the anchor handling vessel M/V MOHAWK EAGLE. Mr. "V" obtained his mate's license in February 2000, but had little or no experience handling Anchors. As more fully explained below, Delta's decision to burden Catain Verret with an untrained "relief" pilot forced Captain Verret to work well over 12 hours a day. This stress in turn eventually caused Captain Verret to suffer a stroke on December 2, 2000 that left him wheel chair bound and permanently disabled. (AAB Editor's Note: "Mr. V" on a "two watch system" boat like the MOHAWK EAGLE was the only relief that the Captain had. By placing an inexperienced mate aboard the company forced Captain Verret into a situation where he had no reliable relief at all, working pretty much a 24 hour day)