Vessel arrivals pave way for another milestone in Port development

Specialist vessels have started to arrive at the Port of Dover for the commencement of harbour dredging for the Port’s flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development, which will enhance essential port capacity and kick-start local regeneration. The DWDR Principal Contractor, a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster (VSBW), has mobilised various items of floating equipment which has begun arriving in Dover to undertake initial harbour dredging to remove soft sediment.

Dredging at Dover
Dredging at Dover

The first vessel to arrive was the ‘Kreeft’, a self-propelled crane barge which is fitted with bespoke attachments for the identification and removal of obstructions.

Dredging vessels include two trailing suction hopper dredgers, the 1,500m³ capacity ‘Sospan Dau’ and one of the 4,500m3 Causeway class vessels. These will dredge, remove and relocate soft sediment to the designated offshore licensed disposal area.

Harder material will be dredged with the ‘MP40’ backhoe dredger, which will transfer dredged material to the 800m³ self-discharging split hopper barges ‘Wadden 1’ and ‘Wadden 4’ for removal to the disposal area. The trailer dredgers and split hoppers will be steaming regularly between the Port and the disposal area ahead of the initial piling programme.

Harbour dredging is a standard practice within the Port industry usually undertaken as part of harbour maintenance and prior to major marine civil engineering developments. To facilitate these operations, there will be other support vessels such as tugs and survey vessels operating within the harbour.

Stuart Eckersley, Project Director for VSBW, stated: “Starting the main dredging activities marks an important milestone for the project.  We will be seeing a range of specialist vessels operating in the harbour from Boskalis Westminster’s extensive dredging fleet.”

Approximately one million cubic metres of silt, gravel and chalk will be removed from the harbour to allow for the creation of a purpose-built cargo and logistics facility, a new marina and a transformed waterfront at Europe’s busiest ferry Port.

Jack Goodhew, General Manager – Special Projects, Port of Dover, said: “The start of the preparatory dredging works for DWDR is another visible sign of our commitment to deliver this strategic infrastructure development, identified by the Government in its National Infrastructure Delivery Plan as a priority for port capacity investment.”

The Port expects to welcome up to twenty different VSBW vessels over the next eight weeks as it enters the harbour dredging phase this month prior to piling commencing.