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Weeks Christens 18,000 Horsepower Cutter Dredge McCaskill

Weeks Marine (WMI) christened the 18,000 horsepower, $41 million ocean-going hydraulic cutter suction dredge C.R. McCaskill, on July 16, 2012, at the company’s Houma, Louisiana, marine yard.

The dredge will focus on coastal and environmental restoration in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico.
Vicky McCaskill performed the christening ceremony by breaking a bottle of Champagne over the huge cutter, flanked by her husband and dredge namesake Charlie McCaskill, Weeks technical and equipment executive; Rich Weeks, president; and Eric Ellefsen, Weeks executive vice president.

The vessel is the third finished product of WMI’s four-year, five-dredge $200 million-plus capital investment initiative formally announced in May 2011.

“July 16 is the day to celebrate the McCaskill, to hear from our elected officials, and to thank all of our friends and suppliers for coming together to produce this magnificent vessel,” said Richard S. Weeks.

Also attending the ceremony were U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, Garret Graves, chair of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and Michel Claudet, Terrebonne Parish president.

In his talk, Rep. Scalise referred to the recently passed and signed Restore Act, which will channel 80 percent of the billions of dollars in fines paid by BP oil spill to coastal restoration in Gulf Coast states.

Garret Graves reminded listeners of the importance of Louisiana’s maritime industry to the state and to the nation. Louisiana’s coastline contains 40 percent of the nation’s wetlands, and in recent years more than 1,900 square miles of coastal land have been lost, he said.

The McCaskill is designed to work on coastal restoration projects, now funded by the Restore Act, and will compete immediately for barrier island and wetlands restoration work on the Louisiana Coast.

Approximately two years from now, the large class, 8,500 cubic yard hopper dredge Magdalen, under construction at BAE Systems in Mobile, Alabama, will become WMI’s third hopper dredge. It will be WMI’s largest, fastest, most fuel efficient, most powerful pumping, and most highly automated hopper dredge, and will double the company’s hopper dredge capacity. These two new dredges will be the most advanced U.S. vessels in their respective categories. They are designed specifically for conditions found offshore of the U.S. coast.

“The two new dredges alone, built in U.S. shipyards, represent new investment exceeding $135 million,” said Richard S. Weeks, WMI President. “The McCaskill and the Magdalen will result in the creation of 125 permanent new, well-paying jobs. I am exceedingly proud of our team as we put together these two projects, vessels which will provide a strong platform for our future growth,” he said.

Weeks Marine, Inc. is a diversified marine contractor involved in construction, bulk stevedoring, heavy lift, salvage, towing, and dredging. With historic roots in the New York Metropolitan Region, WMI was a regional dredging contractor until 1993, when the company purchased American Dredging Company, Camden, New Jersey, then America’s third-largest dredging company.

With the American Dredging purchase, WMI acquired the hopper dredge R.N. Weeks, entering the hopper dredging market for the first time. In early 1998, WMI purchased Gulf Coast Trailing Company, along with hopper dredge B.E. Lindholm, from T.L James & Co. Later that year, WMI purchased most of T.L. James’ remaining marine assets, including their fleet of cutterhead dredges. Since then, the company has operated a varied fleet of pipeline dredges to service Corps requirements on the East and Gulf coasts. WMI also continues to operate clamshell dredges for both the Corps and private terminal clients.

Specifications: Hydraulic cutter dredge C.R. McCaskill
Hull: 230 feet by 62 feet by 14 feet, ABS LL
Ladder length: 106 feet
Dredge pumps: One MPMW/SPI underwater pump, 2000 horsepower;
Two hull-mounted GIW dredge pumps, 5,685 horsepower each
Engines: EPA Tier II certified General Electric engines totaling 18,000hp
Fuel tank capacity: 298,000 gallons
Loaded displacement: 3,954 long tons
Cutter power: 2,000 horsepower
Three main diesel generators: 1,500 kW each
Emergency generator: 450 kW
Three advance modes: 1. hull attached spuds, 2. sliding spud on idler barge,
3. three-point mooring system
Drives: Variable-frequency-drive-powered swing, ladder hoist, cutter and underwater pump
Control: Custom PLC automation and control systems
Accommodation: Living quarters and galley for 56-person crew

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