Blessey Honors Two Captains In Double Towboat Christening

By Frank McCormack

Blessey Marine Services hosted a double boat christening May 6 in New Orleans that honored longtime service from two esteemed captains.

The mv. Gertrude V. Creel, a 76- by 35-foot towboat with a 10-foot, eight-inch draft, is named after the mother of Blessey captain Martin Creel. The mv. Capt. Rodney Adams, which measures 75 feet, four inches by 30 feet with a 10-foot draft, honors the longtime Blessey captain of the same name.

Mv. Gertrude V. Creel

Raymond & Associates in Bayou la Batre, Ala., built the hull of the mv. Gertrude V. Creel. Steiner Shipyard, also of Bayou la Batre, took over construction of the vessel, delivering it to Blessey Marine April 2.

The Gertrude V. Creel has five staterooms with seven berths. The vessel is powered by twin Cummins K38M engines from Cummins Mid-South that combine for 1,800 hp. Karl Senner supplied the boat’s two Reintjes WAF-474 marine gears (7.1:1 ratio) and Cummins Mid-South also provided the vessel’s two Cummins QSB7-DM generators that offer 85 kw. each.

The towboat boasts two Kahlenberg four-blade propellors measuring 76 by 59 inches. The steering system is Gulf Coast Air & Hydraulics’ dual electro-hydraulic system. The boat also carries two Patterson 40-ton deck winches from Donovan Marine.

The mv. Gertrude V. Creel has a 30,000-gallon diesel fuel capacity, with room for 10,000 gallons of potable water. Navigation and electronics are from D&G Electronics. Herbert Hiller provided the Gertrude V. Creel’s fire detection and CO2 systems. Dale’s Welding provided the vessel’s doors. Baton Rouge Marine Electric supplied the vessel’s alarm systems. Schuyler supplied the Creel’s bumpers.

Mv. Capt. Rodney Adams

New Generation Shipbuilding in Houma, La., built the mv. Capt. Rodney Adams, which was delivered April 21. The vessel offers five staterooms with seven berths. Cummins Mid-South supplied the Capt. Rodney Adams’ twin Cummins K38M engines, which combine for 2,000 hp. The boat’s Twin Disc MG540 marine gears have a 6.18:1 ratio. Ship’s service power comes from two Cummins QSB7-DM generators with 85 kw. each.

The Capt. Rodney Adams’ two Kahlenberg four-blade stainless steel propellers measure 74 by 56 inches. Gulf Coast Air & Hydraulics provided the vessel’s steering system. The Capt. Rodney Adams, like the Gertrude V. Creel, has two 40-ton Patterson deck winches.

The mv. Captain Rodney Adams has a diesel fuel capacity of 23,000 gallons, with room for 9,400 gallons of potable water. Herbert Hiller provided the fire detection and CO2 systems. Dale’s Welding provided the doors and Wärtsilä PSE shaft seals. Baton Rouge Marine Electric provided the vessel’s alarm system, and Unlimited Controls supplied the incapacitated-wheelman alarm. As aboard the Gertrude V. Creel, Schuyler supplied the Capt. Rodney Adams’ bumpers.

Honoring The Namesakes

“We’re honoring two great captains,” Blessey Marine Services Chairman Walter Blessey said. “And what I’ve found in my life is, if you surround yourself with great people, great things happen. We’re certainly surrounded by two great captains here.”

Rodney Adams started with Blessey Marine in 1992, but his time aboard inland vessels goes back to when he was 13 years old. At that time, his father, Capt. Roger Adams, would take Adams and his brother along for runs and let them steer. During college at Nicholls State University, Adams would spend summer breaks aboard towboats, working his way from deckhand to pilot. He got a call from Blessey Marine toward the end of one of those summer runs. He’s been with Blessey ever since. His father, also a Blessey captain, has a namesake vessel in the Blessey Marine fleet—the mv. Capt. Roger D. Adams. Roger now also has a grandson working for Blessey Marine.

“There are now three generations of Adamses working,” Walter Blessey said. “They button down, do their job and we’re successful. It’s a great honor for me to honor you with this vessel.… Now there are two Adams boats out there, and maybe someday we’ll have a third one.”

Addressing the large crowd gathered, Adams first offered thanks.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for all the blessings in my life,” he said. “Secondly, I’d like to acknowledge my parents, Authurine and Roger Adams, who together made me the man I am today. You’ve instilled in me the drive, dedication, professionalism, integrity and confidence to excel not only in this career but in life.”

Adams then thanked Walter Blessey, Blessey Marine President Clark Todd and the entire Blessey family for the honor.

“Never would I have thought 28 years ago that something like this would happen. I’ve been honored to be a part of several vessel christenings as captain, but this is the pinnacle of my professional career,” he said.

Martin “Marty” Creel has been with Blessey Marine since 1996, first serving aboard the mv. Rosston B. He was relief captain aboard the mv. Martha Oliver and mv. Bill McNeal and later was captain of the Bill McNeal. He captained the mv. Randy Martin before moving to the mv. Gov. Mike Huckabee in December 2011.

“He wanted to name this after his mother, which he did,” Walter Blessey said. “That’s something very special about him, that he’s not going to have ‘Marty Creel’ up there but Gertrude Creel. Marty, that’s quite a compliment to your mother and what she’s meant to you.”

Speaking to those gathered, Creel first looked at his history with Blessey Marine.

“When I first started working here, Blessey Marine had 16 boats. We had a very big family atmosphere. As we grew so fast, I really thought that family atmosphere might dissipate,” Creel said. “But it’s really only grown.… I bleed green and it’s really an honor to work here.”

Creel then talked about what led him to name the boat after his mother.

“I’d known the call was coming soon, so I’d given it a lot of thought. Me personally, I never felt like I deserved or earned this type of honor, but I knew someone who did. And that was my mother,” he said.

Creel’s mother, Gertrude, grew up in West Virginia the youngest of 12.

“Hers has been a family of love and joy from a simpler time and way of life,” Creel said.

Gertrude Creel and her husband, William Thomas Creel, settled in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in the 1960s to raise a family, and that’s where Martin and his brother, Michael, were born. Then in 1975, Creel’s father was injured on the job and subsequently unable to work for about a decade.

“While our father was at home raising us to be the men we are today, mom was the glue that held us all together,” Creel said. “She spent equal time and effort on our family as well as on her career, never shorting either. In 1995, mom retired from the Civil Service after 24 years working for the Department of Defense.”

Gertrude Creel was diagnosed a few years ago with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“Although this terrible disease is slowly robbing us of her, it hasn’t nor will it ever take away her beautiful heart and warm smile,” Creel said. “It is in the spirit of love and family I want to dedicate this magnificent vessel to our mother. May we hear her name on the radio and see it on the water for many years to come. I love you, mom.”

Both Creel and Adams, surrounded by family, then crashed bottles of champagne over the rails of their namesake vessels, officially christening them for service.

By Heather Ervin

No one was more surprised than Meg Moore when she got an email from Walter Blessey of Blessey Marine Services at 2 a.m.—not uncharacteristic of Blessey—several months ago asking whether he could name a towboat in her honor.

Making its debut on May 19, the mv. Meg Kennedy Moore was christened at the New Orleans Riverside Hilton in front of the longtime marine insurance businesswoman’s friends, family and colleagues.

Vessel Specs

Verret Shipyard in Plaquemine, La., built the mv. Meg Kennedy Moore, which was delivered April 2. The vessel offers five staterooms with seven berths. Cummins Mid-South supplied the Meg Kennedy Moore’s twin Cummins QSK19 engines, which combine for 1,320 hp. The boat’s Reintjes WAF-374 marine gears, supplied by Karl Senner, have a 7.1:1 ratio. The boat’s ships’ service power comes from two Cummins QSB7-DM generators with 85 kw. each.

The mv. Meg Kennedy Moore’s two Kahlenberg four-blade stainless steel propellers are 74 by 58 inches. Custom Hydraulic Components provided the towboat’s dual electro-hydraulic FFU/NFU steering system. The vessel has two 40-ton Patterson electric deck winches.

The Meg Kennedy Moore has a diesel fuel capacity of 20,000 gallons, with room for 14,800 gallons of potable water. Wheelhouse Electronics provided the navigation and communication equipment while Herbert Hiller furnished the fire detection and CO2 systems. Baton Rouge Marine Electrical Services provided the vessel’s alarm system and incapacitated-wheelman alarm. Its bumper system was provided by Schulyer.

Honoring Meg Kennedy Moore

Margaret “Meg” Kennedy Moore was born in Manhattan, N.Y., to a fashion model mother and a father who served in the U.S. Navy as an officer. Moore moved to Missouri once her father left the Navy. Her father died at a young age and her mother raised Moore and her three siblings.

Moore began her career in the marine industry as an insurance claims assistant for R.B. Jones/Alexander & Alexander in 1974. Eventually, she would become the vice president of the marine division—construction services for Aon Risk Solutions in St. Louis.

“There hasn’t been a single day in the past 14 years that I haven’t thought about Meg,” said Blessey president Clark Todd. “This is a special day, and we welcome you to the club and congratulations.”

During the ceremony, Walter Blessey, chairman, divulged tales of times he spent with his friend of more than 30 years.

“We have had so much fun and have been on so many fun trips together,” said Blessey. “Meg, we love you, we all do. I do especially.”

Ted Verret, president of Verret Shipyard, remarked on the longevity he hopes the boat will enjoy.

“Meg, we take special pride in what we do with Blessey,” said Verret.

Blessey’s wife, Jane Ann, spoke about her friendship with Moore before presenting her with a traditional gift.

“I’ve always looked up to Meg,” she said. “Not just because you’re a beautiful, smart, lovely and kind person, but because you’re a foot taller than I am. Friends multiply your joy and help divide your sorrows, and since Meg has become a friend of mine, she has certainly done that for me.”

While accepting the honor of joining the Blessey family of namesake vessels, Moore thanked her friends and family for joining in her special day. “Thank you to my family and friends for traveling the distance and being here with me on this special day,” said Moore. “I’m so proud to be a part of the Blessey family. By the way, Capt. Tommy, keep my bottom off the rocks, buddy!”

Father Harry Bugler presented the ship’s Bible to Capt. Tommy Norwood alongside relief captain Shaw Fleming and tankerman Termichael Sullivan before Moore smashed a bottle of champagne over the rails of the mv. Meg Kennedy Moore to officially christen it for service.

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