DEME holds virtual naming ceremony

DEME Group has successfully hold the first ever digital naming ceremony for a dredging vessel.


Last week, the company hosted this special naming ceremony for its next generation trailing suction hopper dredgers ‘Bonny River’ and ‘Meuse River’.

Due to the coronavirus restrictions, the company decided to hold the digital naming ceremony. The online event captured the spirit of the occasion and honoured all the traditional rituals, including smashing a bottle against the hull.

A particular highlight was the 360° virtual tour on board, which was hosted by DEME’s captains and crew.

The 8,300 m³ ‘Meuse River’ was officially named by the Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Lydia Peeters and the 15,000 m³ ‘Bonny River’ by Els Verbraecken, Chief Financial Officer at DEME.

“When both vessels joined the fleet, they had a full order book and directly set course to their projects. But DEME couldn’t let a special fleet milestone pass without a celebration, so planned to bring the vessels home for a few days before they set off again. However, due to the current COVID-19 situation DEME decided to host a virtual event instead, with all the guests attending via a webcast and the godmothers performing the ceremony remotely,” the company said.

Lydia Peeters, Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works commented: “I am proud to be the godmother of ‘Meuse River’, a trailing suction hopper dredger of no less than 8,300 m³. I wish DEME Group, the captains and the crew a safe voyage with one of the newest vessels in their fleet. The naming ceremony was special, including a virtual tour on board of the vessels – we got a unique look behind the scenes.”

Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO DEME Group: “Every naming ceremony is unique, but this one was truly exceptional. We were of course disappointed that our guests couldn’t welcome our pioneering new fleet additions in person but these are cutting-edge, innovative vessels and we used innovative technology to make sure the virtual event could go ahead without bringing people together. Both vessels are already proving their versatility and efficiency on projects around the world. We certainly wish them and their crews every success in the future.”

Multi-year fleet investment programme

With continued investment in its fleet, DEME aims to take the lead in the industry with vessels featuring innovative technologies and improved operational performance. ‘Bonny River’ is able to dredge very hard soils and can work in deep waters of more than 100 m. This smart new dredger combines a very long suction pipe and large carrying capacity, with a limited draught. Additionally, the TSHD has a heavy-duty trail pipe with a rock draghead.

Building on the success of the renowned trailing suction hopper dredger ‘Scheldt River’, with ‘Meuse River’ DEME can provide customers with an identical, highly efficient and powerful vessel for a wide range of dredging activities. ‘Meuse River’ has a very shallow draught and a Dynamic Positioning & Dynamic Tracking (DP/DT) system to enhance manoeuvrability and position keeping. Just like ‘Scheldt River’, the vessel is also a top performer in terms of pumping distance ashore.

Environmental innovations

Both vessels feature several environmental innovations. ‘Bonny River’ can perform ‘closed loop dredging’, whereby the turbidity generated by the process water is eliminated, which is particularly important in environmentally sensitive areas.

In addition, the shape of the hull and two-speed propulsion gearbox reduce fuel consumption considerably. Both vessels are designed to have dual fuel capability, making it possible to operate on LNG. They also have a ‘Green Passport’ and ‘Clean Design’ notation.