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Chouest to launch new line of supply ships

Edison Chouest Offshore has begun a new series of eight offshore supply vessels that will be built in Houma, Larose and Tampa, Fla., the company said Wednesday.

The newly announced series will be in the 280-foot range and adaptable to a range of jobs, said spokesman Lonnie Thibodeaux, who would not elaborate on the cost or further details.

“Our design plans also take into account the potential of future modifications for deployment in the Arctic,” said Dino Chouest, vice president of operations for the company.

Affiliates of the marine-transportation company had already been at work on a series of more than a dozen 300-foot diesel-electric supply vessels.

Edison Chouest has continued an aggressive building program despite a trying few years for the oilfield marine industry. The oilfield has grappled with a global recession and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which led to the suspension of U.S. deepwater drilling for much of 2010.

In addition to the 13 energy-efficient supply vessels, the company has 12 other ships under construction in its yards around the world, including anchor handlers, smaller fast-supply vessels and a 361-foot icebreaker for work with Shell in Alaskan waters. That ship, which is being built in pieces in Houma and Larose, is due for delivery in early 2012.