Eastern launches hopper dredge for Weeks Marine

(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) — Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) on Friday successfully launched R.B. Weeks, the second trailing suction hopper dredge the shipbuilder has constructed for Weeks Marine.

R.B. Weeks (ESG Hull 258) is named in honor of Richard B. Weeks, a co-founder of Weeks Marine and married to Magdalen Weeks, the namesake of the sister vessel Magdalen (ESG 256), built by Eastern. This new 356-foot vessel is being constructed at ESG’s Allanton Shipyard and has a hopper capacity of 8,550 cubic yards. The vessel outfitting and trials will be conducted at Eastern’s Port St. Joe facility for delivery in 2023.

Scott Pittman photo

“Eastern Shipbuilding Group has enjoyed a strong partnership with Weeks Marine Inc’s. team over multiple projects, and we are proud to build another dredge vessel that will enhance our waterways and restore our coastlines,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group.

In nearly all respects, R.B. Weeks is identical to Magdalen, which was delivered by ESG in 2017. The vessel includes an electrical power, propulsion and dredge machinery package by Royal IHC, GE Tier 4 engines, and several accommodation and crew comfort upgrades.

“We are excited to see the launch of our newest trailing suction hopper dredge, the R.B. Weeks, which will join her sister vessel in various dredging activities primarily aiding the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to maintain ports, harbors and other waterways to ensure ship navigation is possible,” said Eric Ellefsen, president, Weeks Marine. “These two vessels have an equivalent hopper size and pumping capacity, and we look forward to utilizing the R.B. Weeks, putting her to work deepening shipping lanes, nourishing beaches lost to erosion, and completing coastal restoration due to storm damage.”

The trailing suction hopper dredge features the following characteristics:

Dimensions (overall): 356 by 79.6 by 27.3 feet
Designer: Royal IHC
Main engines: (2) GE 16V250 MDC IMOIII/EPA Tier 4
Main propulsion: (2) Wartsila controllable-pitch propellers in nozzles
Reduction gears: (4) Siemens (Flender)
Bow thruster: Wartsila fixed-pitch tunnel unit
Main generators: (2) Hyundai
Auxiliary generator: GE 6L250 MDC IMO III/EPA Tier 4
Emergency generator: Caterpillar C18 IMO II/EPA Tier 3
Classification: Lloyd’s Register, X100A1 Hopper Dredger, XLMC, UMS
Flag and regulatory: USA, USCG
Hopper capacity: 8,550 cubic yards
Accommodations: 26 people

– Eastern Shipbuilding Group

By Rich Miller