Weeks flagship dredge builds its name on Jersey shore
Professional Mariner|October - November 2020
Magdalen vacuuming sand from a borrow site off the coast of Surf City, N.J
Brian Gauvin

The winter of 2018 saw the trailing suction hopper dredge Magdalen vacuuming sand from a borrow site off the coast of Surf City, N.J., and pumping it ashore to replace a 20-foot-high dune reclaimed by the ocean during Hurricane Sandy’s hungry visit in 2012.

The 356-foot dredge, built by Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Fla., had recently joined R.N. Weeks and B.E. Lindholm in the Weeks Marine hopper dredge fleet (American Ship Review 2019). In the summer of 2020, Magdalen nourished the beaches and dunes at Sea Bright and Long Branch on the Jersey shore.

In mid-August, the vessel was scheduled to travel to Hampton Roads, Va., to join the ongoing project “to deepen and widen the Thimble Shoal Channel leading to Virginia Port Authority-owned public terminals, many private marine terminals, and the world’s largest naval base (at Norfolk),” said Mark Sickles, director of corporate and government relations for Weeks Marine.

Magdalen was designed specifically for U.S. coastal dredging conditions by Netherlands-based Royal IHC. It has a hopper capacity of 8,550 cubic yards, more than the combined volume of its two fleet mates. With a hull form that includes a large bulbous bow, Magdalen also has the edge in speed and fuel efficiency — the money in dredging is in dredging, not steaming between two points. The vessel’s ability to operate close to shore minimizes the length of the shore discharge line and maximizes its self-emptying speed.

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