VESSEL REVIEW | R. B. Weeks – Second large hopper dredger for New Jersey marine contractor

Photo: Weeks Marine
Photo: Weeks Marine

Cranford, New Jersey-based marine projects company Weeks Marine (WMI) recently took delivery of a new trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) built by the Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) of Panama City, Florida.

R.B. Weeks was designed by Dutch engineering firm Royal IHC in compliance to Lloyd's Register rules and is the second TSHD in a series to be handed over to the same customer. The new dredger is named in honor of Richard B. Weeks, a co-founder of WMI and the husband of Magdalen Weeks, the namesake of 2017-built near-identical sister vessel Magdalen.

The new TSHD has a length of 356 feet (108.5 metres), a beam of 79.5 feet (24.23 metres), and a hopper capacity of 8,550 cubic yards (6,536 cubic metres) or approximately 560 truckloads of material, and a deadweight of 7,989. It is also fitted with an electrical power, propulsion, and dredging machinery package by Royal IHC. This package includes a dynamic positioning system and dredging and jet pumps for efficient loading and unloading.

<em>Photo: Weeks Marine</em>
Photo: Weeks Marine

Power is provided by two GE 16V250 US EPA Tier IV/IMO Tier III engines driving controllable-pitch propellers via Flender gearboxes. A fixed-pitch propeller housed in a tunnel thruster at the bow provides added manoeuvrability for berthing/unberthing, positioning at work sites, and sailing in close quarters.

Power for the onboard systems is meanwhile drawn from two Hyundai 3,400ekW generators. There are also a GE 6L250 MDC 1,423ekW auxiliary generator and a Caterpillar C18 430ekW emergency generator.

Accommodations are available for a 26-strong crew and dredging technicians. The new TSHD boasts six additional crew berths compared to those on sister vessel Magdalen. There are also improved climate control systems in all staterooms.

Like Magdalen, R.B. Weeks will be used mainly for channel deepening and maintaining as well as beach renourishment projects in support of the US Army Corps of Engineers and other clients.

<em>Photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group</em>
Photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group
R.B. Weeks
Type of vessel:Trailing suction hopper dredger
Classification:Lloyd's Register
Owner:Weeks Marine, USA
Designer:Royal IHC, Netherlands
Builder:Eastern Shipbuilding Group, USA
Length overall:356 feet (108.5 metres)
Beam:79.5 feet (24.23 metres)
Deadweight tonnage:7,989
Capacity:8,550 cubic yards (6,536 cubic metres)
Main engines:2 x GE 16V250
Gearboxes:2 x Flender
Propulsion:2 x controllable-pitch propellers
Generators:2 x Hyundai, each 3,400 ekW; GE 6L250 MDC, 1,423 ekW; Caterpillar C18, 430 ekW
Dynamic positioning:Royal IHC
Dredging equipment:Royal IHC

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