Trico Marine Services Inc. is a now-defunct company that filed for bankruptcy and spun off some of its subsidiaries to other companies in 2011. The company was founded in Delaware in 1993, but eventually had its headquarters in Texas. The activities of Trico ranged from shipping of oil and natural gas, providing services to the oil industry, and providing towing services to subsea trenching.
As a U.S. company Trico actually had a very international reach. It provided services and engaged in shipping in the North Sea, in Asia, Africa, and Brazil, among other locations. Trico shifted its focus many times over the years, which may have been a reason that it ultimately failed. Those in charge, however, blamed the downturn in the global economy for the company’s woes.
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Founded in Delaware in 1993, Trico Marine Services ultimately shifted headquarters to The Woodlands, Texas. The first line of business in which the company engaged was towing and supply. However, over the years the company acquired some other, smaller business and added to its services. For instance, in 2007 and 2008 the company purchased Active Subsea and DeepOcean. This added to the services Trico could offer, including underwater inspections, maintenance, and repair.
Trico first faced Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005. The company announced in March of that year that it had successfully emerged from bankruptcy restructured and intact. The bankruptcy and restructuring allowed the company to eliminate significant debt and hold on to important borrowing capacity. It also emerged with a new stock symbol and a new board of directors.
By 2009 the company had close to 2,000 employees throughout the world, including around 1,320 workers directly engaged in operations. Unfortunately around the same time the company was in trouble again. Trico failed to pay any cash dividends on stocks in either 2008 or 2009 and by 2010 it began to be obvious that the company would need to enter into bankruptcy again. They filed Chapter 11 again in 2011, but this time the company would not emerge unscathed. Liquidated and out of business, Trico was over and a lot of people lost their maritime jobs.
Trico’s Services in the Maritime Industry
While Trico was still in operation, the company was engaged in a number of different types of services and had a large fleet of vessels and equipment. Although the company began as a supply and towing service, it expanded over the years into subsea work and many services to support the offshore oil and gas industry. The company operated as three subsidiaries.
The first was DeepOcean, providing subsea services. Subsea services include anything that must be done underwater, and Trico focused on the needs of the gas and oil industry. This means using divers, submersibles, and other equipment to install, maintain, and repair the equipment on oil wells and gas and oil platforms. Subsea services may also include inspections of structures and equipment, engineering, drilling, and completing and maintaining wells under water. Subsea services can be done in shallow or deep water environments.
The next subsidiary for Trico was Trico Offshore, the original towing and supply company. This part of the company was largely responsible for supplying platforms and other offshore structures with needed equipment. This could include drilling materials and drilling rigs as well as personnel going to and leaving platforms for work periods. Trico Offshore also provided towing services mainly of drilling rigs to and from drilling sites.
Finally, the third subsidiary of Trico was called CTC Marine and provided subsea trenching and protection. CTC Marine provided services to both the gas and oil industry and telecommunication companies. These services largely included burying transmission systems in the ocean floor. This could include flow lines, pipelines, and cables for telecommunications. The subsidiary also installed certain types of subsea infrastructure like integrated service umbilicals.
When Trico was at its peak it had a fleet of ten platform supply ships with large capacity, 41 other supply vessels, a line handling vessel, six crew boats, and six large towing vessels. There were thousands of employees and the company operated in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Norway, and in the North Sea, and in the waters of Australia, Brazil, West Africa, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.
The 2011 bankruptcy ended Trico Marine Services as it was previously known. DeepOcean with CTC Marine did survive as a separate company, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands as a new company, using Trico’s decommissioned services. The rest of the company, namely the original towing and supply arm, as well as the Trico name did not survive.
Driving factors in the bankruptcy were growing amounts of debt and a loss of almost all stock value. Trico was traded publicly on the NASDAQ, but the company was unable to pay cash dividends on common stock for two years in a row.
When the company filed Chapter 11 it had to liquidate its assets in an attempt to pay off debt, but was only able to pay $.06 on the dollar to creditors. The directors of Trico have been accused of wrongdoing, and the creditors have recourse to sue for the rest of what they are owed.
Creditors and shareholders were not the only ones to lose out when Trico failed. Nearly 2,000 people were laid off and on the market for new jobs. Additionally, anyone hurt on the job for Trico suddenly had a harder time seeking compensation for those injuries. Maritime workers and platform workers on offshore sites are protected by maritime laws, but when a company files bankruptcy, it may not be able to pay what it owes.
If you worked for Trico, were injured on the job, and were not able to recover the damages you were owed, you may want to speak to a maritime lawyer. Trico may have had insurance money left that could have paid out to injured workers. Let a lawyer hear your case and decide if you have options and if you may be able to get any money for your pain and suffering.