Weeks Marine Inc., a major dredging company with a shipyard in Houma, has announced a new major ocean-going dredging ship that will focus on coastal and environmental restoration in Louisiana and the entire Gulf of Mexico.
The JS Chatry, named for Weeks Marine’s Senior Vice President J. Stephen Chatry, is a $60 million state-of-the-art, 30-inch hydraulic cutter suction hopper dredge, which is a self-propelled vessel that uses a drag arm move material from the ocean or river floor into the ship’s hopper.
“While the national coastal restoration and protection market is growing, we are especially optimistic about the market here in Louisiana. We have taken note of the governor’s and the Legislature’s commitment to the Master Plan and the protection of critical dedicated funds for their intended purpose,” said company President Richard Weeks.
The JS Chatry is a 310-feet long, 72-feet wide cutter with pumping power that will allow it to dredge longer distances without the need for boosters. While the exact amount of dredging material the ship can pump varies by the material, Charlie McCaskill, a Weeks vice president, said the ship will have 84-inch main pumps and will be the most advanced U.S. vessel in its category.
“There are so many advantages to this piece of equipment. It’s not a self-propelling vessel, it needs to be towed, but beyond that it’s a self-deploying vessel besides needing the pipeline,” McCaskill said. “Another interesting thing about it is the vessel is equipped with the latest EPA-required engines. This vessel will meet all those requirements and will be real good when it’s in Houston, which has a bad air pollution problem, so it will help over there.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has been working to get companies to equip engines that put out fewer emissions and make the vessels more fuel efficient. The JS Chantry will be compliant with Tier 4 emissions standards, McCaskill said.
The JS Chatry is being built at C&C Marine and Repair in Belle Chase and is specifically designed for offshore conditions on the U.S. coast. It is the sixth major dredging investment Weeks has made since 2011 as part of its $200 million capital investment initiative.
A Weeks representative said that it will be visiting Houma “very soon” after its completion, which is scheduled for some time in 2019.