In August, BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama in Mobile, Ala., was awarded a contract to build an 8,500-cu.-yd.-capacity, twin-screw, trailing-suction hopper dredge for Weeks Marine Inc., Cranford, N.J.
The 356’×79′ dredge was designed by IHC Merwede in The Netherlands. Gibbs & Cox, Arlington, Va., will provide functional engineering and detailed production support.
The Weeks 475 will be the company’s “largest, fastest, most fuel efficient, most powerful pumping, and most highly automated hopper dredge,” Weeks said in a press release announcing the contract. It is part of the company’s three-year, five-vessel, $200-million-plus capital investment program.
Hopper dredges are self-propelled vessels that excavate material through drag arms from the ocean or river floor, pumping the material into the vessel’s hopper. They are used to maintain the ocean entrance channels to the seaports and naval facilities. Hopper dredges are also the tool of choice for beach restoration as quality sand “borrow areas” are being found further from placement areas. The Weeks 475 will be Weeks Marine’s third hopper dredge.
The company will also be adding the Weeks 315, a new ocean-class, 30″ hydraulic cutter suction dredge that will join the company’s pipeline dredge fleet.
Weeks Marine is a diversified marine contractor involved in construction, bulk stevedoring, heavy lift, salvage, towing, and dredging.