Dale Artigue


The Eastbank of the Mississippi River in New Orleans near the Riverwalk Mall was packed December 3 with a trio of new towboats from Florida Marine Transporters (FMT). The late-afternoon gathering had the feel of a reunion, with members of the FMT family mingling onshore and aboard the mv. Kimberly Hidalgo, mv. James Dale Robin and mv. Dale Artigue.

The mv. Kimberly Hidalgo and mv. James Dale Robin are near-identical towboats, both from Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Fla. The Kimberly Hidalgo was delivered in May 2014, with the James Dale Robin coming online later in August 2014.

Both vessels measure 90 by 32 feet and feature twin Caterpillar 3512c Tier 3 engines rated at 1,500 hp. each at 1,600 rpm. Sewart Supply outfitted the boats with Twin Disc model MG-5600 gears with a 6.04:1 reduction. Each boat is pushed by Sound 84- by 69-inch propellers. The Kimberly Hidalgo and James Dale Robin have a fuel capacity of 36,700 gallons and a potable water capacity of 9,300 gallons.

Electrical power on both vessels is courtesy of 99 kw. Tier 3 John Deere 4045 generators. The vessels’ electric-over-hydraulic steering systems are from EMI, and Unlimited Controls provided the alarms. The Kimberly Hidalgo and the James Dale Robin feature two 40-ton Patterson winches, with bumpers by Schuyler.

Kimberly Hidalgo

John Pasentine, son of Dennis Pasentine, Florida Marine chief executive officer, introduced the large crowd gathered to Kimberly Hidalgo, compliance manager for Florida Marine.

“Kimberly joined the FMT team in 2005. She started in the marine industry 19 years ago,” he said.

Hidalgo first worked in the tankerman services field before she was recruited to join FMT’s compliance team.

“With the way the industry is changing, Kimberly’s ability to keep up with it is immeasurable,” John Pasentine said. “Her knowledge makes her one of the most respected women in the industry. She plays such a large role in the success of Florida Marine.”

James Dale Robin

Norm Antrainer, new construction manager for FMT, then introduced the crowd to James Dale Robin (pronounce “Row-Ban”) with a hearty “Cómo se va?!” in keeping with Robin’s Cajun heritage. As described by Antrainer, Robin has a long family tradition of working on the water.

“James Dale Robin as a youngster and a young man traveled with his family to many a port city, following his father’s work in the dredging industry,” Antrainer said. “He started his career, as most men do on the bayou, as a green deckhand, doing all the endless chores and duties associated with being at the bottom of the ladder. [He worked] through the ranks, eventually finding his niche as an experienced tankerman.”

Robin rose to the top of the tankerman field, serving on inland river barges and ocean barges from New York City to New Orleans, Antrainer said.

“It seems whenever a problem arises…who do they call? James Dale Robin to the rescue. In a few hours or even a few minutes, we’re back in business,” Antrainer said.

Robin worked closely with Antrainer and others at Florida Marine to design and build the company’s newest pressure barges, the FMT 6000 series.

Antrainer said Robin has always followed his father’s work philosophy that teaches, “Don’t brag on your work; let your work brag for you.”

“Well, James Dale Robin, we’re here today to let your work brag for you. And by all standards, standing in front of your namesake, the mv. James Dale Robin, this is 300 tons worth of bragging,” Antrainer said.

Dale Artigue

Dennis Pasentine then followed, introducing the crowd to Dale Artigue, who works in customer relations for FMT and has been with the company 27 years.

“Dale Artigue—I guess you gotta say he’s my brother. If ever there’s been a person in my life who’s been a real true brother for me, it’s been Dale,” Dennis Pasentine said. “He’s been there through the good and bad. I’ve seen him grow.”

About 27 years ago, Artigue’s father-in-law approached Dennis Pasentine and asked him to find a job for him.

“‘D, I’ve got a young man who just married my daughter, and I want you to find a home for him over at Florida Marine,’” his father-in-law told Dennis Pasentine.

Not only did he find a work home for Artigue, Dennis Pasentine also welcomed him into his home when FMT moved its headquarters to Mandeville, La.

“Dale lived with me before he moved his family to town,” he recalled. “It was a real sad experience to lose Dale, because he’d become part of our family.”

Dennis Pasentine later added, “He’s worked in most every position in our organization. He’s a real inspiration for the rest of the people around him.”

The mv. Dale Artigue, built by Horizon Shipbuilding and delivered in September 2012, measures 120 by 35 feet. The vessel is powered by twin Caterpillar C280-6 Tier 2 engines rated at 2,320 hp. each at 900 rpm. The boat features Lufkin RS2200HG gears. The mv. Dale Artigue is pushed by Sound 99- by 102-inch propellers. The Dale Artigue has a fuel capacity of 56,000 gallons and a potable water capacity of 11,400 gallons.

Electrical power is courtesy of 175 kw. Tier 2 Caterpillar C9 generators. The vessel features electric-over-hydraulic steering from EMI. The alarms onboard are also from EMI. The Dale Artigue features two 40-ton and two 60-ton Patterson winches. Bumpers are by Schuyler.

After a formal prayer of blessing, Hidalgo, Robin and Artigue (aided by his son, Dale Jr.) climbed aboard their namesake vessels and took turns crashing a bottle of champagne over the railing of the towboats.

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