Eastern Shipbuilding Group Inc. (ESG) recently launched the 356'x79'6"x27'3" R.B. Weeks, the second trailing suction hopper dredge the shipbuilder has constructed for Weeks Marine Inc.

Designed by Royal IHC, the R.B. Weeks (ESG Hull 258) is named for Richard B. Weeks, a co-founder of Weeks Marine and married to Magdalen Weeks, the namesake of the sister vessel Magdalen (ESG 256), also built by Eastern. The new trailing suction hopper dredge, being constructed at ESG’s Allanton, Fla., shipyard, has a hopper capacity of 8,550 cubic yards. The vessel outfitting and trials will be conducted at Eastern’s Port St. Joe, Fla., facility for an on-time delivery in 2023.

“Eastern Shipbuilding Group has enjoyed a strong partnership with Weeks Marine Inc’s. team over multiple projects, and we are proud to build another dredge vessel that will enhance our waterways and restore our coastlines,” Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, said in a statement.

The R.B. Weeks is nearly identical to the Magdalen delivered by ESG in 2017. The vessel includes an electrical power, propulsion, and dredge machinery package by Royal IHC, GE Tier 4 engines, along with several accommodation and crew comfort upgrades.

The Magdalen features two booster pumps, powered at 1,600 kW each and an HD dredge pump, powered at 1,600 kW. There are two jet pumps, powered at 445 kW each. Hopper capacity is 8,550 cu. yds.

Main propulsion comes from twin GE 16V250 diesel engines, producing 5,682 hp each and two Wärtsilä controllable pitch propeller systems in nozzles. For added maneuverability, there is a Wärtsilä VFD fixed pitch bowthruster tunnel unit, producing 730 kW of power. Electrical power comes from two Hyundai 3,400-kW gensets, a GE 6L250, 1,423-kW auxiliary genset and a Caterpillar C18, 425-kW emergency genset.

“We are excited to see the launch of our newest trailing suction hopper dredge, the R.B. Weeks, which will join her sister vessel in various dredging activities primarily aiding the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to maintain ports, harbors, and other waterways to ensure ship navigation is possible,” said Eric Ellefsen, president, Weeks Marine. “These two vessels have an equivalent hopper size and pumping capacity, and we look forward to utilizing the R.B. Weeks, putting her to work deepening shipping lanes, nourishing beaches lost to erosion, and completing coastal restoration due to storm damage.”

The R.B. Weeks, which can accommodate 26 people, will be Lloyd’s classed Maltese Cross 100A1 Hopper Dredge, LMC, UMS registered and USCG certified and U.S. flagged.


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.

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