PD Ports in the U.K. has ordered a new dredging vessel from Dutch shipbuilder Neptune Marine.
The 71-meter-long hopper dredge, which has already been named the Emerald Duchess following a competition among PD Ports employees, was ordered for £23 million and will arrive at Teesport next summer.
Currently under construction at a shipyard in Poland for commissioning, ahead of trials in the Netherlands in 2024, the Emerald Duchess will replace the Cleveland County, which had served the Tees under PD Ports’ conservancy team for 50 years.
The vessel has been designed and built by Neptune with help from PD Ports’ technical experts, and it includes features that will eventually allow carbon neutral operations.
Fitted with an intelligent power management system, the Emerald Duchess can swap between power from a battery pack and fuel made from hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), also known as renewable diesel. It is also has hatches above the engine room to allow power units to be swapped out for modern fuel cells as the technology matures, using methanol or ethanol fuel.
Extensive modelling, using computational fluid dynamics, has taken place to create a hull that is as refined as possible while moving through the water to minimize fuel consumption.
Emerald Duchess will be able to carry 2,500 tonnes and hold up 2,000 cubic meters of dredged material.
As Statutory Harbor Authority (SHA), PD Ports has the powers to dredge to legally agreed levels to allow commercial operations along the Tees and at Hartlepool, creating a safe and consistent passage for vessels of depths up to 17 meters.
The method of removing sediment brought into the river by the tides, which is then discharged into designated areas off the coast, is closely monitored and regulated by the Marine Management Organization with a process that has been in place for more than 50 years.
Frans Calje, chief executive officer of PD Ports, said, “The Emerald Duchess represents a major investment in our conservancy operations as SHA and shows our high level of commitment to the socioeconomic development of the River Tees and the wider region.
“The vessel is a step ahead in terms of crew safety and sustainability and will strongly support our commitment to becoming a carbon neutral operation, using low emission fuel and an innovative layout to make it more fuel efficient.
“Every investment we make is targeted to keep our environmental impact to a minimum, while also supporting the growth and success of the region and the commercial operators who rely on the river.”