Designed by Royal IHC and built by Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. of Panama City, Fla., the trailing suction hopper dredge (TSHD) R. B. Weeks successfully passed her sea trials and was delivered last May to her owners, Weeks Marine.
Named for Richard B. Weeks, a co-founder of Weeks Marine, a family-owned company founded in 1919, the new dredge is virtually identical to it’s sistership Magdalen, which bears the name of Richard B. Weeks’s wife and was built by ESG in 2017.
Constructed at ESB’s Allanton, Fla. shipyard, R. B. Weeks joins four other TSHDs and seven suction dredgers in Weeks Marine’s fleet. ESG’s workforce delivered the vessel on schedule and it was launched on June 17, 2022. The vessel outfitting and trials were conducted at the shipbuilder’s Port St. Joe Shipyard.
The new dredge meets all USCG requirements and has 8,550 cubic yards in hopper capacity with accommodations for 26 persons.
The TSHD is propelled by a pair of Wabtec 16V250 MDC IMOIII main engines that meet EPA Tier 4 emissions standards with four Siemens reduction gears and two Wartsila controlled pitch propellers in nozzles and has a top speed of 15 knots.
Power is supplied by a pair of two Hyundai main generators and an auxiliary generator manufactured by GE. In addition, a Caterpillar C18 IMOII/EPA Tier 3 emergency generator is also aboard. The bow thruster is a Wartsila Fixed Pitch Tunnel Unit.
The dredge’s equipment includes a highly efficient dredging installation, dredging automation and instrumentation, and propulsion and main electrical systems designed and built by Royal IHC. The main propulsion is provided by two Wartsila CPPs in nozzles.
Its navigation systems include a Furuno GPS and Furuno ECDISs and Simrad Autopilot and Gyrocompass. The communications array includes a Furuno GMDSS in a console custom-built by Mackay. In addition, KVH Industries supplied an IP-V7 broadband antenna and an M5 satellite TV antenna, while sound powered phones and the telephone systems were manufactured by Vingtor/Zenitel.
The R.B. Weeks also features Fassmer Model RR4 rescue boat and a Fassmer Model CFL66E lifeboat; and an IHC alarm/monitoring system. The engine room, paint locker and galley exhaust trunk have a CO2 fixed firefighting system, while the engine room also features a water mist system, both by supplied by Hiller. The Ansul R-102 dry-chem galley hood was furnished by Marine Interior Systems.
According to Weeks Marine President and CEO Eric Ellefsen, the delivery of the R.B. Weeks is “a significant milestone for the company, and the largest capital investment in Weeks Marine’s history, which spans over a century.”
The company, he said, “looks forward to putting the R.B. Weeks to work deepening and maintaining navigation channels, restoring storm-damaged coastal barrier islands and nourishing beaches lost to erosion, aiding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other key clients.”
“It’s our pleasure to once again deliver a quality vessel on time and on budget to our valued customers at Weeks Marine, Inc.,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., in a press statement. “The R.B. Weeks joins an impressive fleet that works alongside the Army Corps. of Engineers to preserve our treasured waterways.” •