A Damen trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) 650 has successfully completed sea trials in Shanghai and is now on its way to the new owner – Gippsland Ports in Australia.
The TSHD, named Tommy Norton, is the first Damen dredger built for Australia.
Having left Shanghai on 14th July, a Damen team is sailing Tommy Norton approximately 5,000 nautical miles over a period of approximately 30 days to reach Australia. Along the way, the vessel will stop off in Guam for bunkering, Damen said.
Damen’s team has made extensive preparations for the voyage, as Captain Martin van Krieken explains: “Before embarking on such a trip, there is a lot to do. We have to make sure we have enough supplies on board for our safe manning of seven crew – and to ensure that everyone is familiar with the vessel. Then there’s voyage planning, draught and stability calculations, weather routing, establishing of a maintenance schedule and checking all on board equipment to take into account.”
Upon arrival in Australia, the TSHD will undergo dredging trials, Damen said.
The new dredger will be used to maintain entry to the port of Lakes Entrance and the Gippsland Lakes system, which is used by recreational, fishing and supply vessels.
To achieve this mission effectively, the TSHD 650 has been modified to increase the installed propulsion power, allowing her to manage the strong currents encountered in these areas. To minimize disruption to the local ecosystem, an anti-turbidity valve has been fitted on the overflow to reduce air bubbles and visible plumage in the water.
Additional features include an indication package to measure soil density. This allows the suction pipe to be angled precisely for accurate operations.
Capable of dredging to depths of 15 meters, the dredger has been built with self-emptying capabilities with bottom doors for dumping and the choice of either a bow connection or rainbow expulsion for beach reclamation work.