Royal IHC Partners With Eastern Shipbuilding on High-Tech Dredge

Courtesy Royal IHC

Published Apr 4, 2024 4:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

Dutch dredge specialist Royal IHC has signed a contract with Florida-based Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) to build a modern medium-sized hopper dredge for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Royal IHC says that the newbuild will be an "unparalleled dredging vessel" with a groundbreaking design, high-tech automation and cutting-edge dredging equipment. It will be able to fill up its 6,000-cubic-yard hopper in under 45 minutes, and its pumping power cuts discharge time dramatically. 

Forward-looking sonar, DP, dynamic tracking and new "dredging assist" technology will also increase efficiency. The automated controls "advise and assist the dredge master" on dredging technique, says Leo van Ingen, Area Sales Director at Royal IHC. 

"The hopper dredge . . . features one of the most advanced configurations ever developed by Royal IHC," he says. 

Royal IHC's "dredging assist" system will take care of many operational tasks autonomously, with the operational approval of the dredge master. This includes turning pumps on and off, lining up valve configurations, raising and lowering suction pipes and unloading the dredge spoils through the hopper doors. 

The dredge will be commissioned into the USACE's fleet and will directly replace the vessel McFarland, a 57-year-old oceangoing hopper dredge assigned to the Corps' Philadelphia District. 

The dredge will be built at ESG's Allanton and Port St. Joe facilities.

"Our partnership with Royal IHC exemplifies our longstanding commitment to working with the best in the industry to deliver superior vessels to our customers," said Joey D’Isernia, CEO of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. "Our extensive experience in building highly mission capable TSHDs in the U.S. positions us well to construct this exceptional vessel for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."