Bisso Marine chairman Cappy Bisso III dead at 75

Ken Hocke
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Capt. William A. “Cappy” Bisso III, the fourth generation chairman of the board of Bisso Marine LLC, passed away on Sept. 24. He was 75.

A New Orleans native, Bisso joined the family business in 1962. He worked his way up to the boardroom of the company that got its start in 1890. He served in many capacities in all divisions of the company, learning the business from the ground up, before becoming its chairman.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he moved Bisso Marine’s headquarters from New Orleans to Houston. Under his leadership, Bisso Marine evolved from a local inland marine service provider to into a worldwide full service subsea and offshore midstream infrastructure contractor.

“I was really sad to hear about his death. He was a really good man,” said Capt. Claude Klein, master of the port of New Orleans fireboat General Roy S. Kelley. “Though they moved their headquarters to Houston, a lot of their equipment is still here on the river, uptown.”

Today, Bisso Marine performs marine construction, infield gathering and transmission pipelay, pipeline burial, salvage, decommissioning, and heavy lift and diving services. The company has a fleet of offshore derrick barges, pipelay barges and bury barges — capable of laying and burying 60″-dia. pipelines — surface and saturation diving support assets and anchor handling tugs.

The Bisso company legacy can be traced back to the 1800s. Joseph Bisso, who began in the maritime industry in the 1870s, constructed handmade wooden rowboats, which he used to ferry passengers and commodities across the Mississippi River in New Orleans. The human powered rowboats gave way to steam power by 1890. By the 1940s, Bisso Marine’s third generation was fully engaged in support of the emerging offshore oil and gas industries in the Gulf of Mexico.

“He was involved in the salvage business his whole life,” said Klein. “Anytime something was going on in the river, he was either there while it was happening or shortly afterwards. This really is a loss.”

W.A. "Cappy" Bisso III, left, with Louis Barrio in 1995. Bisso Marine photo.

W.A. "Cappy" Bisso III, left, with Louis Barrio in 1995. Bisso Marine photo.