Manson Construction Co. has awarded a contract to Keppel AmFELS to build the 420'x81' hopper dredge Frederick Paup at its facility in Brownsville, Texas. The 15,000-cu.-yd. hopper dredge — designed in collaboration with Hockema Whalen Myers Associates, Seattle — will have a draft of 28'6". It is scheduled to be fully operational in spring 2023. A US Bank-led syndication is providing financing.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Keppel AmFELS, due to their impressive vessel construction capabilities. Their value proposition is strengthened by our shared focus on safety,” John Holmes, Manson Construction's president, said in a statement announcing the agreement contract.

Once complete, the self-propelled hopper dredge Frederick Paup will be the largest in the U.S., representing Manson’s single biggest investment in its 115-year history.

“This dredge is the culmination of years of work by our dedicated team and I am honored to bear its name,” remarked the dredge’s namesake, Manson’s chairman of the board, Frederick Paup. “We are proud that it will be U.S. built, U.S. flagged, and U.S. crewed, and will support the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ mission of keeping the marine transportation highway open throughout the United States.”

Mohamed Sahlan Bin Salleh, president of Keppel AmFELS said, “We are pleased to be selected by Manson Construction Co. to build the largest U.S hopper dredger. It is a testament to the capabilities of our shipyard to build a wide variety of vessels for the Jones Act market. This project will be supported by our highly skilled local workforce and suppliers across the U.S. This is our first newbuild project with Manson, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow their fleet of vessels.”

Hal Hockema, president of Hockema Whalen Myers Associates, said that they were gratified that Manson chose them to design the Frederick Paup in conjunction with Manson’s internal engineering and operations groups. "Our longstanding relationship with Manson covers more than two decades of successful hopper dredge design and other engineering work," he said. "Complex projects like this provide an opportunity to offer our superior engineering and client relations capabilities. I also want to personally thank our design team at HWMA, and especially our project managers, Craig Pomeroy and Michael Minnig, for their fine work in developing this design. Our focus at HWMA is to ensure that the Frederick Paup will be a major force in the dredging market for decades to come.”

“This is an exciting time in the U.S. dredging industry,” said Mark Sickles, interim CEO and executive director of the Dredging Contractors of America. “Here is another new investment in an American shipyard and in our vibrant and growing industry. On behalf of our member companies, I congratulate Manson Construction Co. on this wonderful news.”

The Frederick Paup will be the fourth U.S. hopper dredge to be formally announced or deployed since 2018.