Ergon motor vessel named for 14-year-old|[04/25/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Engine oil was substituted for champagne when the MV Katherine Berry was blessed Tuesday, perhaps a nod to the fact it’s named for a 14-year-old who was at the ceremony and not surprised by the honor.

&#8220They told me before,” said Katherine Berry Lampton, daughter of Bill and Kathy Lampton and granddaughter of Leslie Lampton, owners of the Ergon family of companies.

&#8220I was like, ‘Hmmm. OK!”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The twin-engine, 110-foot vessel, built for Magnolia Marine Transport by Greenville-based Nicholls Propeller Co., was part of a $5 million investment made by Ergon, which already has an oil refinery at the Port of Vicksburg and is in a partnership building an ethanol plant.

The Katherine Berry is expected to be used to push petroleum barges on the Mississippi and help in the movement of ethanol once the plant Ergon is building with Bunge North America is complete.

&#8220Another (vessel) is coming for 2008 and one more in 2009,” said Lee Lampton, head of operations for Ergon, adding the completion date of the $100 million operation is targeted for the first quarter of 2008.

A short ceremony blessing the MV Katherine Berry was marked by sea-themed Scripture readings and presentation of oil, poured directly into a 3,000 horsepower engine.

Set to leave the dock by Friday for St. James Parish, La., to begin service, the boat can push four barges hauling a total of 92,000 barrels of crude oil, or about the same as 140 rail cars or 544 tankers.

Employing 14 crew members as it begins its first voyage, the boat features sound-proof cabins, flat-screen televisions with attached DVD players, wireless access to the Internet and cell phone sites on board for continuous reception.

When additional boats are added to Magnolia’s fleet in the next two years, they will join a fleet of 18 towboats and 65 barges the company owns and operates, plus 21 new barges.