Weeks Marine’s brand new hopper dredge Magdalen was delivered on December 22, 2017 by Eastern Shipbuilding after successfully completing sea trials and U.S. Coast Guard inspections.
Commenting on Weeks Marine’s new hopper dredge Magdalen, William P. Doyle CEO and Executive Director of the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA) said, “This is great news, a terrific capital investment. Weeks is an American company, hiring American workers and building vessels in U.S. shipyards.”
“As the single largest investment in Weeks’ 99-year history, I am pleased that the Magdalen’s first project will be finishing up a vital project to North Carolina and to visitors from around the world,” said President Richard S. Weeks. “We are looking forward to observing her at work and integrating her into our dredging and marine construction family.”
The Magdalen set sail last week on its maiden voyage from Panama City to Southport, N.C.
The Magdalen arrived on January 2, 2018 to Southport, N.C., “and is bringing on supplies and crew before going to work on one of the State’s most critical projects: the protection of Highway 12 in the Buxton area on North Carolina’s Outer Banks,” said Weeks’ Senior Vice President, Dredging Division, J. Stephen Chatry. “It is a good day for our company and for our customers.”
“Weeks Marine, like all the member dredging companies of the DCA, answer the call – replenishing our beaches, rebuilding our wetlands and barrier islands, allowing families to enjoy outdoor conservation and recreational activities,” Doyle said.
The Magdalen is one of the two newest, and among the largest, hopper dredges in the U.S. It is a self-propelled vessel that brings formidable pumping power to off-load beach quality sand or other materials for land reclamation.
According the County of Dare, N.C., beach nourishment is the process of pumping sand onto an eroding shoreline to widen the existing beach. Sources of sand may include a nearby sandbar, a dredged source such as an inlet or waterway, or an offshore borrow site along the ocean floor. The widened shoreline provides increased defense from coastal storms and beach erosion protecting property, communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline.
Highway 12 is the only north-south roadway along North Carolina's Outer Banks. This highway serves as a vital connection for residents and tourists from the northernmost point in Corolla south to Cedar Island on the mainland.
“Weeks works hard to identify and understand growing markets in the U.S. and is constantly evaluating new opportunities to meet new demand,” said Eric Ellefsen, Weeks’ Executive Vice President. “We are particularly attentive to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ program, and have been pleased by the strong growth in our second home, Louisiana, as the State fights coastal erosion and the loss of valuable wildlife habitat.”
The introduction of the Magdalen effectively doubles Weeks’ hopper dredging capacity, joining the RN Weeks and BE Lindhol, Weeks’ workhorse hopper dredges, whose combined hopper capacity is less than that of the new dredge. The Magdalen is dedicated to the domestic marketplace and was designed by leading world dredging experts for the conditions found here in the U.S.
“I want to congratulate Hans Blomberg, Weeks’ Project Manager; Eastern Shipbuilding; and all of our equipment team on the delivery of this new “game-changer” for our company,” said Charlie McCaskill, Vice President, Equipment. “We are all excited to see this world-class vessel in action.”
The Magdalen will be crewed by members of the International Union of Masters, Mates and Pilots. All 34 permanent seafaring jobs created are net new jobs as no vessel is being taken out of service. There are many additional direct family wage jobs on the fill site, on any needed booster, as well as dedicated port engineers and onboard wildlife observers. On land, indirect jobs are created for subcontractors, for contract administrators, and for U.S. shipyard workers.
The Honorable William P. Doyle is Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dredging Contactors of America (DCA). He was formerly Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. Doyle served over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine as an engineer aboard numerous classes of vessels. He is a licensed attorney and marine engineer. A graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, he also earned his J.D. from the Widener University School of Law.