490 April 2008
Offshore Oil Services Inc.: Taking Care of the Core
“We look after our core people in the company and we look after our core customers in the field,” Offshore Oil Services’ Executive Vice-President Michael Gay said to explain the success of the family owned firm. The business was founded in 1929 when family patriarch Carl Muchowich lost his scrap metal and other businesses following the stock market crash. With his limited remaining cash he purchased and resold a load of shrimp. This was the start of an extensive shrimp trading business that led to the family move to Freeport Texas in 1932 and the expansion of the business to include an icehouse. In time a fleet of shrimpers were purchased and built. Later they expanded to include party fishing boats and, when oil exploration picked up in the 1950s, they began adapting shrimpers to meet the needs of offshore oil.
Carl passed the business to his son Raymond who continued the expansion in the offshore oil industry with the addition in 1987 of an 18.5-acre site on the Intracoastal Canal which they turned into a marine terminal. They had sold the party boat business to Capt. Elliot Cundieff in 1974 to focus on the offshore oil business. Raymond’s daughter Marilyn Muchowich Stanley, who had worked alongside her father for years, took over on his death in 2000. In 2004 they sold the marine terminal business and narrowed their operations to the core of crewboats.
Marilyn’s daughter Stacy is now the company president and is steering it through the recent expansion to a total of seven vessels. Built at Breaux’s Bay Craft in New Iberia Louisiana, the latest three vessels are: Anna M, 145-foot and powered by four Cummins KTA38 M2 engines, the 162-foot Raymond M, powered by four Cummins KTA50 M2 for a total of 7200 HP and currently under construction, the 145-foot Hannah Ray powered by four KTA38 M2 engines for a total of 5600 HP. This will give the new boat a 27-knot cruising speed and a 30-knot top speed. Her 28-foot beam will allow for a 81x23-foot clear cargo deck. Certified under 100 GT the boat will carry 68 passengers. The Hanna Ray’s 1,650-mile operating range will allow it to reach all areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition to the three new vessels the company has four older vessels. From their gleaming white hulls to their immaculate engine rooms, these boats are maintained to a near yacht quality. A favorite is the 110-foot Hayden built at Gulf Craft in 1981. Powered by four Cummins KTA1150 engines producing a total of 2100 hp it is reportedly the first of the larger Cummins-powered crewboats and is credited with building the reputation that has led to the Cummins dominance in the crewboat market. Another contributor to the Cummins reputation is the 125-foot crew boat Sophie M. This boat’s 3500 HP comes from five Cummins KTA19 engines. The set of engines now on the boat has about 20,000 hours of duty and will be routinely swapped out later this year at about 2200 hours reports Michael Gay.
While focusing on a core market the company tries to get work for their boats that keeps them reasonably close to their Freeport base. They also build boats to a size that is in demand but they do not attempt to compete with the bigger companies. The boats are not built to load line for foreign jobs, “Our market is the Gulf of Mexico,”stresses Gay, “And we don’t have dynamic positioning systems. Our twenty captains do all our dynamic positioning.”
Like many successful maritime executives, Gay know where of he speaks having spent 13 years as captain of Offshores boats before coming ashore to take up office duties.
For a more complete history and full specifications of each of their vessels visit the excellent Muchowich Offshore Oil Services web page at: www.offshoreoil.com.
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