Magnolia Marine blesses new tugboat Mr. Lampton|[6/24/06]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2006

Magnolia Marine Transport Company, a subsidiary of Ergon, has added a new tugboat to its fleet, the first in 32 years.

The vessel will be called the M/V Mr. Lampton, a name familiar to the 2,500 employees of Ergon’s 50 companies.

The tugboat is named for the four Lampton sons – all called &#8220Mr. Lampton”- who work for the company founded 52 years ago by their father, Leslie Lampton, now 81.

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&#8220This is an example of Ergon’s connection to the Vicksburg-Warren County community,” said Leslie Lampton Friday at a reception and blessing for the tugboat at Magnolia Marine at the Port of Vicksburg. &#8220We will all continue to grow together.”

The blessing was given by Chaplain Jim Wilkinson, of Ministry on the River. He blessed a bottle of oil the ship’s captains will pour over the vessel.

Ergon, started in 1954 in Greenville as a fabrication company with just two employees and the purpose of providing bulk lube oil to drilling operations in Mississippi, has become a network specializing in refining and marketing, asphalt and emulsions, transportation, information and technology, real estate, oil and gas.

Magnolia Marine was founded in 1957 with three barges and a vessel named Jack T. The company is now part of the transportation services sanction of Ergon, with 17 towboats and more than 60 barges moving crude oil, asphalt, diesel fuel and other products along the Mississippi River. The company has 262 employees.

Lee Lampton runs the company; Les Lampton III oversees the lube marketing division; Bill Lampton is president of the asphalt subsidiary; and Robert Lampton is president of the supply and distribution branch.

The M/V Mr. Lampton will carry a crew of about eight, who will live on the vessel 30 days at a time, said director of personnel Chris Lenoir. The tugboat features a retractable wheel house, sleeping quarters, a food pantry and a galley. It also has engines on both the upper deck and main deck that run at the same time, Lenoir said.

&#8220We are proud and very excited to welcome this vessel to our fleet,” said senior vice president Stan Humphreys.

The 3,000 horsepower towboat was built by Nichols Propeller of Greenville. A second vessel, to be named Kathryn Berry after Bill Lampton’s daughter, is to be delivered in April 2007. A third boat, yet to be named, will be completed in 2008.