PLAQUEMINES PARISH GOVERNMENT
February 17, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lepine Administration Turns Over Ferry Department to the Port with Three Working Vessels
PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LA - For the first time since 2019, the Plaquemines Parish Ferry Department has all vessels operational in time for transfer to the Plaquemines Port Harbor & Terminal District. “Plaquemines Parish Government is proud to turn over ferry services with all vessels operational,” said Parish President Kirk Lepine. This was not accomplished by chance, Parish Government worked hard to keep all vessels running.
In early 2019, vessel Belle Chasse II was in need of a 5-year refit and was stationed at the shipyard for over a year. The cost of the refit was procured with $1.2 million in grant money acquired by Plaquemines Parish Government. Soon after the Belle Chasse II returned to service, vessel Pointe à la Hache was sent to the shipyard for its 5-year refit. The Pointe à la Hache vessel’s refit was a 9-month long process and returned to service in December of 2021. The cost of the refit was also procured with over $1 million in grant money acquired by Plaquemines Parish Government. The Government also renewed the 5-year certification on the Plaquemines Pride and made improvements to the steering system in 2020.
Over the last 3 years, Parish Government worked to design new ferry ramps in Pointe à la Hache. Repairs to the ferry ramps in Pointe à la Hache were completed twice in the last three years, once after deficiencies were found, and again after they were damaged by a passing ship. Damages to the ramp due to the passing ship were paid for by the shipping company following Parish Administration’s efforts to track down the shipping company responsible for vessel damages.
“In late 2020, we faced major financial challenges. Our administration was given $1.5 million to operate a ferry system that had previously budgeted for $3.6 million,” said Todd Eppley, Director of Public Service. Moving forward, the Lepine administration identified additional money, asked the council for approval, and was able to run one ferry at each crossing for 11.5 hours each day. Additional monies were later allocated to the ferry system specifically to expand operational hours, but a lack of qualified staff prohibited the administration to expand ferry hours. The Lepine administration is happy to have overcome these challenges and turn over the ferry system to the Port on a positive note.
The mission of the Plaquemines Parish Government is to provide high quality, efficient services to sustain and enhance the quality of life for all residents of Plaquemines Parish. For more information about Plaquemines Parish, visit https://plaqueminesparish.com/Residents can also receive regular updates by following the Parish on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@PlaqueminesParishGov).