Sophlex Enterprises, Inc., Sophlex Ship Management, Inc., Sophlex Gulf Shipping are all companies founded by Capt. Timothy Levensaler in order to provide customized, quality vessel management services to vessel owners and operators, both in the U.S. and abroad. Capt. Levensaler, founder of Sophlex, has worked in the marine industry since his graduation in 1983 from Maine Maritime Academy with a bachelor's degree in Nautical Science (with highest honors). Captain Levensaler sailed as a Master Mariner for 13 years. During this time he also served as Project Manager for several multi-million dollar government projects, ship conversions, and repairs. He also was appointed as Ship Superintendent for numerous shipyard projects for several different companies.
In January 2000, Sophlex was approached by an investment group to provide complete top to bottom crewing and management services for a then unidentified vessel to operate out of Corpus Christi, Texas. Captain Levensaler was tasked to identify and enter into a purchase agreement for a vessel. In June 2000 a lease purchase agreement was signed for the 11,000 ton "Texas Treasure" In July 2000 Sophlex took control of the vessel and delivered it to Corpus Christi. Sophlex successfully operated this vessel for one year as agreed. During this time Sophlex identified and assisted in the purchase of a second vessel, Texas Treasure II. This vessel was converted to a casino vessel and put into service in October 2002 in Palm Beach, Florida. At this time the company brought the Management of its tow vessels in house and both vessels were turned over to Texas Day Cruises, Inc.
In 1999 Sophlex was contracted to provide crewing, Pilotage and management services for the 1700 passenger casino Vessel, “New Yorker” out of Port Canaveral Florida. This contract was for one year start-up phase of this casino project in which Sophlex was very instrumental. Once its newly constructed vessel became available, the company owned foreign flag vessel replaced the “New Yorker” and vessel management as well as foreign crewing was brought in house. The company is now one of the most successful Casino Operations in the US: Sterling Casino Lines.
When Sterling released the New Yorker from Charter, her Owners entered into a contract with Sophlex to manage and operate the ship. That contract remained in force until the vessel (now re-named M/V Surfside Princess) was sold. Her new owners continued the use of Sophlex to care for the vessel, which is now under charter to SunCruz Casinos and based once again in Port Canaveral. Capt. Levensaler continues to serve as her lead pilot, and ship is crewed by marine personnel obtained through Sophlex
In 2009 Sun Cruz went into Bankruptcy and Sophlex was hired by the mortgage holder to seize and take possession of the fleet of 5 vessels ranging in size from 315 ft to 120ft. Sophlex moved all the vessels from their current locations to Port Canaveral Florida. The vessels were later seized by the US Marshall and Sophlex was appointed as the Substitute Custodian.
Over the period of the next 27 months Sophlex was instrumental in the marketing and sale of the entire fleet.
In 2008 Sophlex was appointed by the Federal Marshall to seize the casino vessel "Liquid Vegas". Sophlex took control of the vessel in Port Canaveral and moved it to a safe lay berth. Over the next 12 months Sophlex marketed and sold the vessel at a Marshall's public auction in Orlando Florida.
In 2010 Sophlex completed the sale of the Surfside Princess to Victory Casino Lines. Sophlex was awarded a 3-year contract to refurbish and operate the vessel under a Ship Management Contract. Sophlex Supervised a $10m overhaul of the vessel. Sophlex was able to complete the conversion and obtain new initial Certificate of Inspection (COI) for the vessel to carry up to 1200 passengers under a Near Coastal route. Sophlex now manages the entire Marine operation. The vessel was re-named the Victory 1. The Victory 1 now carries about 20,000 -30,000 passengers per month.
In 2012 Sophlex was appointed by the Federal Marshall as the Substitute Custodian for the River Romance. The Romance is 90 ft. dinner cruise vessel that seats 200 guests. The vessel is currently being held in Port Canaveral, Florida.
In the summer of 2003 Craig Hodgkins joined Sophlex in order to assist in the management of Sophlex’ growing contract base. Mr. Hodgkins is a 1983 graduate of the Maine Maritime Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Engineering with a minor in business. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 500 ton captain’s license, an engineering license of unlimited horsepower (both steam and diesel), and has served on various vessels around the world, including a U.S. flag tanker and a number of world-class luxury yachts. His marine management experience includes overseeing the construction of three different vessels at two different shipyards from start to finish. In addition to his maritime service and experience, Mr. Hodgkins has worked in the gaming industry in Nevada, rising from a floor person in the slot department to president of The Sahara Hotel & Casino, responsible for managing 1400 employees. As a result Mr. Hodgkins brings a unique combination of talents to Sophlex’ clients engaged in vessel gaming operations, including large scale personnel management.
In addition to these key personnel, Sophlex maintains a data base of highly qualified and licensed marine crew at all skill levels, many of whom have worldwide experience in operating both U.S. and foreign flag vessels. Consequently, Sophlex is able to deploy qualified, responsible crew to clients’ operations on an expedited basis, and can respond immediately to evacuation requirements in its home base of Port Canaveral.
The mission of the Sophlex Group is to continue to provide quality ship crewing and management services to customers in the US and Abroad, both in start-up and on-going operations. Sophlex will continue to seek out new clients and to provide economical marine services while adhering to the highest standards of quality and safe ship management.
Sophlex Enterprises, Inc., dba Sophlex Marine Management is an International Safety Management compliant company and previously held Document of Compliance from the Bahamian and Liberian Governments for operation of Passenger vessels worldwide. Sophlex maintains offices in Port Canaveral, Florida and Corpus Christi, Texas.
Capt. Timothy D. Levensaler