Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (ESG), Panama City, Fla., launched the 356'x79'6"x27'3" trailing suction hopper dredge Magdalen for Weeks Marine Inc., Cranford, N.J., on March 31 at Eastern’s Allanton facility in Panama City, Fla.

The design and detailed engineering and the dredging equipment were provided by Dredge Technology Corp. (DTC), part of the Royal IHC Merwede International Group. Initially, the vessel was to be built by BAE Systems Southeast Shipyard, Mobile, Ala., where the keel was laid in 2012. Weeks Marine contracted Eastern in 2015 to finish the dredge.

The Magdalen will feature two booster pumps, powered at 1,600 kW each and an HD dredge pump, powered at 1,600 kW. There will also be two jet pumps, powered at 445 kW each. Hopper capacity will be 8,550 cu. yards.

Main propulsion will come from twin GE 16V250 diesel engines, producing 5,682 hp each. For added maneuverability there will be a VFD fixed pitch bowthruster tunnel unit, producing 730 kW of power. Electrical power will come from two 3,400 kW gensets, a GE 6L250, 1,423 kW auxiliary genset and a Caterpillar C18, 425 kW emergency genset.

The Magdalen will be Lloyd’s classed Maltese Cross 100A1 Hopper Dredge, LMC, UMS registered and USCG certified and U.S. flagged.

On a perfect sunny Florida day, the launch was hosted by Eastern’s Founder and CEO Brian D’Isernia. He praised to the hundreds of attendees, the trust Weeks Marine placed with Eastern Shipbuilding constructing this dredge. D-Isernia also pointed out that two Weeks Marine dredge vessels were currently working dredging nearby in Panama City Beach, performing beach re-nourishment work.

In attendance from Weeks Marine, were Richard N. Weeks, chairman, and Steve Chatry, senior VP division manager of Weeks. Steve Chatry shared with the crowd about the great relationship shared between Weeks, IHC and Eastern, leading to the momentous launch day. Magdalen is named after Richard and Ted Weeks’ mother, Magdalen Noll Weeks. The new dredge was blessed by Deacon Earl Mirus, of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church of Panama City and christened by Helen McLaughlin the niece of Magdalen Weeks. Also in attendance was Mike Testani — senior vice president, Art Smeding — chief financial officer, Charlie McCaskill — VP and equipment manager, Hans Blomberg — technical manager hopper dredges, Colleen Feeney — executive administrative assistant and Richards Weeks brother — Ted Weeks.

Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.