Indian ports operator Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) looks set to bolster its dredging and portside land reclamation activities with the arrival of two new European-built trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHDs) in late November/early December.
Constructed by Netherlands-based builder Royal IHC to the specs of its Beagle 8 TSHD class, the dredgers, Shanti Sagar 17 and Shanti Sagar 18, have already achieved two ‘firsts’. Firstly, featuring hopper capacities of 8,000m³ apiece, these are the largest dredgers to have been classed by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) to date. Each dredger boasts a length of 95.2m between perpendiculars (or 104.5m overall), a moulded breadth of 24.2m and a moulded depth of 9.1m, and is capable of dredging to depths of 27.5m, deploying two 800mm-diameter suction pipes. As part of the classification process, IRClass issued all statutory certificates for the dredgers, covering their compliance with SOLAS, MARPOL, Load Line Convention and Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 regulations.
Speaking during the handover of Shanti Sagar 17, Colonel Vinod George (retired), chief operating officer of Adani Group's dredging and reclamation division, praised IRClass' "attention to detail", "technical expertise" and "prompt responses" - plaudits that IRClass will surely welcome, as it pursues a strategy of widening its international scope. In October, IRClass was accredited 'recognised organisation' status by the US Coast Guard (USCG), enabling the register to undertake statutory surveys and certification in US waters. Meanwhile, in Europe, IRClass was recently authorised by the Marine Equipment Directive (MarED) to undertake EC type approvals for a range of life-saving equipment and garments, as well as small lifeboats and rescue craft.
Secondly, Shanti Sagar 17 and 18 are the first vessels of their type to have been assigned dredging freeboard as per the Guidelines for Assignment of Reduced Freeboards for Dredgers, or DR-68. Effectively, this enables each dredger to undertake operations at reduced freeboard, in recognition of the fact that these vessels typically operate in ‘inland’ waters and can dump cargo through their bottom doors in the event of being hit by unexpectedly high waves. Under DR-68, dredgers can reduce their freeboard to up to one third of statutory freeboard. Shanti Sagar 17 and 18 have been designed to draw 7.4m at international freeboard and 8.2m at the dredging mark.
Shanti Sagar 17 was developed with a heavier drag head, as she will be dealing with tougher soils than her sister, Royal IHC says. Both vessels are capable of attaining a speed of 13.7knots when fully laden, courtesy of twin Wärtsilä 32 main engines, apiece – Shanti Sagar 17 deploying 8-cylinder versions, while Shanti Sagar 18 runs on 7-cylinder variants.