International Dredging Review

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The Central Dredging Association’s (CEDA) Dredging Days 2011 took place on November 10-11 with 280 dredging experts from more than 20 countries attending.

It was held in conjunction with Europort 2011 at the Ahoy Exhibition Center in Rotterdam the Netherlands.

When the CEDA started planning for its latest meeting the coordinating committee members were intensely aware of the expanding role of dredging. Just take a quick look at ongoing projects around the world and the diversity of dredging activities is clear. From this observation they derived the name of the conference – Dredging and Beyond – as well as two themes: “Building with Nature – Soft and Hard Dredging Solutions for Both Coastal and Inland Waters” and “Dredging and Rock Dumping for the Offshore Oil and Gas Industries.”

The day began early with the welcoming words of CEDA’s President Anders Jensen and Professor Cees van Rhee chair of the technical papers committee and two keynote addresses both with the accent on the diversity of dredging. The first speech by Professor Peter Halbach of Berlin’s Free University explained the role of dredging during “the mining of deep-sea minerals” – perhaps the last great resource of certain types of scarce minerals. While some technologies exist much more R&D is needed to really exploit these resources according to Professor Halbach. He was followed by keynoter Hans de Boer managing director of IRO (Association of Dutch Suppliers in the Oil and Gas Industry). De Boer remarked on the close connection of the dredging and offshore industries and the opportunities yet to come.

The Technical Sessions

The number of papers on specific subjects is too numerous to mention but the Proceedings are available from CEDA at www.dredging.org or by emailing the Secretariat in Delft at ceda@dredging.org. Still a few highlights should be described included the ongoing work of EcoShape a public-private research program seeking to create guidelines for the eco-dynamic development of dredging projects.

Papers ranged from updates on the “Sand Engine” project in the Netherlands (reclaiming land along the Dutch coast by semi-natural beach nourishment) to environmental projects in Singapore Panama and New Caledonia to new technologies developed by IHC Systems for precision dredging to the Damen’s RoRo Deep Dredge System. Fehmarnbelt the anticipated Fix Link between northern Germany and southern Denmark which would connect Scandinavia to Continental Europe by an 18-km-long bridge or a tunnel was also a subject of great interest. And of course the potential of increased and improved deep-sea mining techniques received significant attention.

A number of good papers by students and younger authors were on offer. But only one could be selected for the International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) Award for a Young Author under the age of 35. This was presented to Bas Borsje a Coastal Engineer at Deltares in Delft The Netherlands and a member of the faculty of Water Engineering & Management University of Twente Enschede The Netherlands and a member of the EcoShape|Building with Nature team. He received the award as the lead author of the paper “Biomorpholocial Interactions on a Nourished Tidal Flat: Lessons Learned from Building with Nature.”

CEDA Position Paper: Underwater Sound

A significant moment was the unveiling of CEDA’s “Position Paper on Underwater Sound” written by a CEDA Working Group under the auspices of CEDA’s Environmental Commission and reviewed by experts in the field. The position paper addresses the controversial subject of the effects of human-made sound on aquatic life. Refuting Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famous film about underwater life The World of Silence Frank Thomsen chair of the Working Group on Underwater Sound and Senior Scientist at DHI explained that the sea is not silent at all but that all sorts of aquatic life emit sounds such as the communication calls between whales or fish. He emphasized that while CEDA acknowledges that dredging produces sounds the research on the effects of underwater sound have left many questions unanswered.

The CEDA position paper takes an even-handed approach in an attempt to assess the influence that dredging sounds may or may not have on marine animals as compared to other sources of underwater sound. In accordance with CEDA’s commitment to responsible environmental behavior the position paper encourages further research to remove the uncertainties about the effects of dredging sounds on aquatic life and to standardize monitoring so as to facilitate appropriate management practices.

A taste of the CEDA position paper now in preparation about climate change adaptation as it affects the dredging community was given by Pol Hakstege Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment Centre for Infrastructure Department Hydraulic Engineering and Environment) who is chairing the working group preparing this document.

Exhibition and networking

No conference is complete without its fair share of exhibitions and networking and these were abundant at CEDA Dredging Days. Both at coffee breaks and lunch pauses the opportunities were abundantly present to meet old acquaintances make new contacts and visit booths of various suppliers of ships machinery and software as well as dredging companies and consultants.

Exhibitors were: Aqua Vision Damen Dredging Equipment DEME Denialink IHC Merwede Marinestar Nortek Prolec QPS RKT International Rotonics Manufacturing Seatools Van Oord Offshore and VOSTA LMG.

It would be remiss not to mention the large number of exhibitors at Europort 2011 which ran concurrently with the Dredging Days and which included a wide range of representatives from all corners of the maritime industry – some 900 according to the organizers.

On the Europort exhibit floor Don King and Bob Sutton manned a booth from Dredge and Marine Company LLC of Mt. Juliet Tennessee (see related article on page 8) and the Damen Group hosted visitors in a major display of equipment. Guido Perla & Associates naval architects who have designed barges for the Panama Canal expansion project also had a display.