Weeks Marine company, engaged in marine construction, dredging and tunneling organizations in the United States and Canada, has christened the third of five ocean-going hydraulic cutter suction dredgers at the company’s yard in Houma on Monday, the Daily Comet news portal informs.
The 15,000 pounds dredger constructed in Honuma, is part of a USD 200 million project and it has been named the C.R. McCaskill, after Charles R. “Charlie” McCaskill, the Weeks Marine dredging division’s top technical and equipment executive.
In the aftermath of the infamous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which has affected considerably Louisiana’s coast, there is a great need for coastal-restoration projects, which include massive dredging operations.
C.R. McCaskill, a five stories tall dredger, worth USD 41 million, will be used for such projects being the most advanced machine of its type in the US, designed specifically to work in offshore conditions.
Taking into account that Louisiana is home to five of the top 15 ports in the nation and the fact that one in eight jobs is tied to the maritime industry in the area, investments such as the ones in massive dredging equipment are vital for maintenance and sustainability of the region.
This investment project also bears great importance in the context of the RESTORE Act, which is expected to bring billions of dollars in oil-spill-fine money reserved for coastal restoration, from which between USD 5 billion and USD 21 billion would go to Louisiana.
The Bill guarantees that 80 percent of Clean Water Act violation fines and penalties paid by BP and other responsible parties in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be directed to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Texas.
Weeks Marine played a vital role in the emergency response for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. As part of a massive industry effort, Weeks marshaled a significant portion of its dredging and marine fleet from around the United States to participate in building emergency sand berms designed to prevent oil from washing ashore.
Despite great land loss, the state is moving forward with a master plan for restoration that includes more than USD 20 billion in marsh-creation projects, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Chairman Garret Graves stated. According to him, about USD 500 million in barrier-island-restoration projects, that will need tools like the C.R. McCaskill dredger, are moving forward already this year.
Dredging Today Staff, July 17, 2012; Image: Weeks Marine