Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Panama City, Fla., has been contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to design and construct a new medium-class 320'x72'x28' hopper dredge (MCHD) for the Department of Defense and formally received the notice to proceed. The dredge will be constructed at Eastern’s Allanton and Port St. Joe facilities and is scheduled for delivery in 2027.
Eastern has again teamed with Royal IHC, a world-renowned designer and builder of dredging vessels and equipment. Royal IHC has designed a tailor-made state-of-the-art diesel-electric hopper dredge to precisely meet USACE requirements. The design is the result of knowledge built over years of designing and building similar trailing suction hopper dredges (TSHD). The hull form, based on Royal IHC’s proven Beagle TSHD-series, is designed to provide the best balance of proven carrying capacity, dredging performance, seakeeping, and open water transit operations as well as highly predictable operating characteristics.
With a 25'6" draft, the new hopper dredge will enter the USACE’s Ready Reserve Fleet and will play a critical role in the Corps’ navigation mission and provide for safe, reliable, effective, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems for national security, commerce, and recreation needs. The new dredge will have a hopper capacity of 6,000 cu. yds. and a dredging depth of 65'.
The vessel will replace the 57-year-old dredge McFarland based in the Corps’ Philadelphia District. McFarland is one of four oceangoing hopper dredges owned and operated by USACE.
“On behalf of the highly skilled workforce at Eastern, I thank the Army Corps for entrusting us with this historic hopper dredge project that will serve an indispensable role in our national maritime priorities,” Joey D’Isernia, Eastern’s CEO, said in a statement announcing the notice to proceed. “Eastern is the only U.S. shipyard to have delivered comparable dredges in the past 15 years. We look forward to a strong partnership with USACE as we deliver this significant project on their behalf.”
Eastern has a successful track record building large and complex hopper dredges for commercial customers. Recent hopper dredge deliveries include the ATB Douglas B. Mackie/Ellis Island delivered in 2017, Magdalen also delivered in 2017, and the R.B. Weeks delivered in 2023.