Bouchard Transportation, a bankrupt barge operator, considers closure and 108 layoffs

Long Island barge operator Bouchard Transportation Company Inc. plans to shut down its facility and lay off 108 workers if it can’t find a buyer, the company said in a filing with the State of New York.

Melville-based Bouchard, which operates oil barges, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.

The worker adjustment and retraining notification posted on the state’s Department of Labor website Tuesday said Bouchard was looking for a party willing to buy the company or its assets.

Under the terms of any transaction, “the company may have to lay off employees,” the file said.

“If the company closes the facility, it is expected that the majority (or all) of the employees located in the facility will be permanently laid off,” the company’s opinion says.

The layoffs could start on July 15 and continue until August 15, according to the filing.

Judge David R. Jones, who hears the company’s case in U.S. bankruptcy court in Houston, has removed Morton S. Bouchard III as chief executive and director of the company.

The court appointed Matthew Ray, managing partner at Chicago-based Portage Point Partners, as head of restructuring at Bouchard.

The company, founded in 1918, referred all inquiries to Ray, who did not answer phone calls or emails.

Bouchard’s fleet includes 25 double-hull barges and 26 tugs, according to court documents.

“Debtor-in-owner financing” would allow the company to continue operating using assets to which creditors may have a legal claim, according to court documents.

In April, the company and three former and current executives paid $ 375,000 in compensation to a sailor who was fired after cooperating with the 2017 fatal explosion investigation.

Payment by the company, Morton S. Bouchard III, Brendan Bouchard and Kevin Donohue has been agreed with the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The explosion off Port Aransas, Texas, spilled crude oil and caused more than $ 5 million in damage.

The sailor who received the settlement – the brother of one of the two sailors killed in the incident – was working in the company but was not on board the barge at the time of the explosion.

OSHA investigators ruled the dismissal amounted to retaliation.

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