International Dredging Review

International Dredging Review

On October 3 2005 Dredging Supply Company Inc. (DSC) commissioned a new 24-inch x 24-inch Shark Class dredge for the royal family in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates.

The dredge will be operated by PAL Technology a company owned and operated by the royal family and will work on projects in the area developing artificial islands deepening canals and land reclamation. The dredge is expected to be booked for projects through 2018. This is the first DSC dredge to be delivered to the U.A.E.

The Shark Class dredge was designed by DSC’s engineering staff in accordance with ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) Offshore rules. The dredge was built in record time – eight months – and features the latest technology. With dimensions of 95 feet by 29-and-a-half feet by seven feet it can dig to 50 feet below the surface. It and has 2715 hp.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Minister of Presidential Affairs hosted the dredge commissioning ceremony on October 3 which was covered by the local television and press. Members of the royal family and the U.S. Embassy as well as other potential customers attended the lavish ceremony. Martin Quinn deputy chief of Mission Christian Reed counselor for Commercial Affairs and Alex Khochaflan Senior Commercial Specialist from the U.S. Embassy and more than 50 major players from Dubai and Abu Dhabi enjoyed the hospitality shown by their host. The event was held at the sheikh’s private island that is now under development. A huge receiving tent was erected at the end of the shoreline at the cove where the dredge was located. The tent was complete with murals on the walls Persian carpets covering the ground and crystal chandlers hanging from the ceiling.

Charlie Sinunu International Sales Director for DSC provided the visitors with a tour of the dredge while Eddie Cicardo DSC Field Service Engineer was at the controls to demonstrate the operation of the machine. On Charlie’s signal Eddie started the dredge pump and within one minute had over 22500 gallons per minute of shells sand gravel and rocks up to 10 inches flying out of the stern of the dredge.

“Wow that is impressive; American quality and technology at work” exclaimed Quinn.

A smiling Sheikh Mansour told Sinunu “We are very pleased; you have exceeded our expectations”.
The dredge’s first job was to create seven meter depth behind the sheikh’s palace for a marina. Dredged material was pumped ashore as fill along the shore.

The United Arab Emirates has a very hostile environment. The summer air temperatures in Abu Dhabi may range up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit with 30 percent humidity during the day and up to 89 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 percent humidity at night. The salt water of the Persian Gulf can have a temperature of up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit in shallow areas.

DSC was asked to manufacture the Shark dredge with special cooling features so the unit could work around the clock under these harsh conditions. DSC engineers customized a special cooling system for the Caterpillar engines using titanium plates. The special DSC design was reviewed and approved by Caterpillar’s engineers at their headquarters in Peoria Illinois. This approval was necessary in order to keep the Caterpillar one-year warranty in effect. The control room is outfitted with four heavy-duty air conditioners for operator comfort. The diesel engines dredge pump and hydraulic system are installed in the spacious center pontoon that is outfitted with special fans and blowers to keep a comfortable working temperature for the dredge crew.

The control system features an expandable programmable logic controller (PLC) and touch screen controls that provides the dredge operator with a simple ergonomic and user-friendly interface to efficiently operate the dredge. The system is designed with rugged solid-state circuits to provide reliable trouble-free operation. This unique system also features onboard dredge diagnostics to tell the operator if there are any problems and how to correct them.

The 24-inch x 24-inch Metso dredge pump is powered by a 16-cylinder Caterpillar 3516 diesel engine rated 2000 hp while the hydraulic system is powered by a 12-cylinder Caterpillar 3412 diesel engine. Both Caterpillar engines are the latest E models which feature computer controls and the best fuel efficiency in the industry. A computer chip on the diesel engines communicates with the PLC that operates the dredge. If the dredge PLC determines that it does not need all the power being delivered by the engine it will have the engine throttle back which saves wear and tear on the engine and reduces fuel consumption.

The standard dredge control system has safety measures to protect against pump engagement and disengagement at high speeds and it locks out all hydraulic functions during start-up and control activation. The system also has alarms for any malfunction and keeps alarmed conditions along with the time and date in memory for review. The control system records and displays the operating hours of all major dredge systems including engines dredge pump cutter and all winches. These data are useful for servicing and managing dredge utilization. The dredge crew and company management are provided with information they can use to maximize dredge efficiency reduce cost of operation and increase profits.

Bob Wetta vice president for Marketing and Sales is pleased with DSC’s growing international market share.
“Our international sales figures have been doubling every year and we are grateful to our loyal customers who continue to be our best form of advertising” he said.
“DSC was fortunate that Hurricane Katrina did not damage any of its facilities and production at the factory is at a record high. Twelve dredges are under construction for customers around the world. One unit is a multi-pump 20-inch Marlin Class dredge for Nigeria that features 25-meter digging depth capability” said Wetta.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim Bank) has readily approved loans for DSC customers said Wetta. A new 20-inch Shark Class dredge shipped October 2005 to Nigeria was financed by M&T Bank in Baltimore using the US Exim Bank loan guarantee program. M&T Bank is one of the largest Export-Import Bank guaranteed lenders in the world and has correspondent relationships with more than 2000 banks in nearly 3000 locations.

M&T Bank was recently awarded the President’s E-Award for excellence in exports. David Cooke managing director Trade Finance Group for M&T stated “DSC has proven to be a first-class reliable provider of high-quality dredging equipment. Our experience in emerging markets has shown that quality and reliability of both product and service are essential to building a loyal customer base”.