DCA member Weeks Marine Inc. (WMI) recently announced that a new $60 million ocean-going, 30-inch hydraulic cutter suction dredge, the JS CHATRY, is officially under construction. The dredge is to be named after Senior Vice President and Manager of Weeks Marine’s Dredging Division, J. Stephen Chatry.
Read the full release below:
WEEKS MARINE, INC. ANNOUNCES NEW $60 MILLION CUTTER SUCTION DREDGE FOR U.S. MARKET AND FOR LOUISIANA COASTAL RESTORATION
July 19 – Covington, LA. Today, Weeks Marine Inc. (WMI), an ENR Top 100 construction contractor with extensive dredging and coastal restoration experience in the Gulf of Mexico, formally announces the construction of a new $60 million ocean-going, 30-inch hydraulic cutter suction dredge, the JS CHATRY. The dredge is named for Senior Vice President and Manager of Weeks Marine’s Dredging Division, J. Stephen Chatry. Construction is underway in Belle Chase, LA, at C&C Marine and Repair.
“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 Richard S. Weeks, WMI President. “I am also very happy and proud that our newest dredge is named for Steve. He is a lifelong Louisianan and has been a key member of our team as we have grown the business in Louisiana and throughout the United States. Finally, I hope Governor Edwards, Senators Cassidy and Kennedy, Representative Garret Graves and, our great congressman and champion, Rep. Steve Scalise, and other Louisiana leaders will be able to join us when we christen the CHATRY.”
“The JS CHATRY is the next advance in technology, efficiency and productivity and I am excited about what it means for both Weeks Marine and for the capacity of nation’s dredging industry,” said Eric W. Ellefsen, WMI’s Executive Vice President. “We are making this investment, in part, because we must stay ahead of the competition in the markets we serve—competition that is not standing still.”
“I am incredibly honored by the naming decision of our newest and most advanced cutter suction pipeline dredge,” said Steve Chatry. “I am even more gratified by the ownership and WMI’s Board’s decision to continue reinvesting in our future success for those who come behind us. We know we are fortunate to work for Weeks Marine. We have the best workforce, engineers, estimators, and project managers in the business.”
The JS CHATRY is 310 feet long, 72 feet wide. Her pumps are powered by GE’s Tier IV diesel electric engines. Those engines and others provide 23,269 total installed horsepower, with 3,000 hp on the cutterhead. When the dredge is not offshore, it is equipped with a walking spud carriage for efficient work in inlets and in protected waters. 52 people can be comfortably housed onboard.
In 2011, WMI announced a five-dredge $200 million-plus capital investment initiative. The JS Chatry will be WMI’s sixth major dredging capital expenditure since that announcement. This fall, the $110 million 8,500 cubic yard hopper dredge MAGDALEN will be christened in New York. She is now in the water being fitted out and preparing for sea trials. In July 2012, the $42 million CR McCASKILL was christened in Houma, LA, with the help of Congressman Steve Scalise, former Congressman Charles Boustany, and current Congressman Garret Graves, who was then the Governor’s cabinet level coastal advisor and Chair of CPRA. “As our customers can affirm, the McCASKILL has been a great success and has been working hard from the day she was christened,” said Mr. Chatry.
The MAGDALEN will become WMI’s third hopper dredge. It will be WMI’s largest, fastest, most fuel efficient, most powerful pumping, and most highly automated hopper dredge, and will double WMI’s current hopper dredge capacity.
Likewise, the JS CHATRY will be the most advanced U.S. vessel in its category and is designed specifically for conditions found offshore the U.S. coast.
Background. Weeks Marine, Inc. (WMI) is a diversified marine contractor involved in construction, bulk stevedoring, heavy lift, salvage, towing, and dredging (www.weeksmarine.com). With historic roots in the New York Metropolitan Region, WMI was a regional dredging contractor until 1993 when the company purchased American Dredging Company, Camden, NJ, then America’s third largest dredging company. With the American Dredging purchase, WMI acquired the RN WEEKS (ATLANTIC AMERICAN), thus entering the hopper dredging market for the first time. In early 1998, WMI purchased Gulf Coast Trailing from T.L James & Co., a large family-owned Louisiana company thereby acquiring a second hopper dredge, the BE LINDHOLM (OUACHITA).
Later that year, WMI purchased most of T.L. James’ remaining marine assets—at the time the second largest US dredging company and largest contractor in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, the company has operated a varied fleet of pipeline dredges to service U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) requirements on the East and Gulf coasts. WMI also continues to operate clamshell/bucket dredges for both the Corps and private terminal clients. In 2016, WMI was ranked 96th on ENR’s top 400 contractors list.
For the purpose of modernization and re-powering, the hopper dredge BE LINDHOLM, and pipeline dredge CAPTAIN FRANK (TOM JAMES), were out of the market in 2011. The 1996-built EW ELLEFSEN was also repowered with accompanying electronic and automation updates as part of the 2011 investment initiative. The JS CHATRY will join Weeks Marine’s large and diverse pipeline dredge fleet and represents a major addition to WMI’s considerable dredge, tugboat, booster, hopper barge, and industrial workboat fleet.
Dredge pump horsepower and booster capacity is very important as beneficial uses of dredged material, further and further from the dredge cut, have become the “new norm” in a world where environmental sensitivity and restoration is a sought after societal objective. In recent years, WMI’s Dredging Division has added two highly-automated, ocean-going boosters, four 7,800 cubic yard hopper barges for long distance hauling, countless miles of steel pipe and deck barges to move it, and numerous other support vessels. WMI is now building two more ocean-going boosters.
The private sector hopper dredging industry got its start in the late 1970s. Hopper dredges, like the MAGDALEN, are self-propelled vessels that excavate material through a “drag arm” from the ocean or river floor, pumping the material into the vessel’s “hopper.” They are manned by USCG-licensed seafarers and are used, most critically, to maintain the ocean entrance channels to the nation’s seaports and naval facilities. More and more frequently, however, hopper dredges are the tool of choice for barrier island restoration as quality sand “borrow areas” are being found further from the placement area.
As entrance channel hopper dredging was transformed from government-owned, steam powered vessels, to modern private sector diesel electric vessels in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Corps eventually settled on operating four government hoppers. Two of these are now operated in Ready Reserve status, as part of the Corps’ commitment to “using industry first.” This policy is implemented through an emergency response protocol called “raise the flag,” a procedure that was developed by the Industry-Corps Hopper Dredge Management Group (ICHDMG). “Using industry first” produces the highest demand possible for new equipment and private sector investment. It is one reason why WMI was eager to build the MAGDALEN, the largest single investment in the company’s history.
The private hopper dredge fleet was largely built from 1977 to 1987. Prior to 1999, WMI’s dredge RN WEEKS, was the Nation’s newest hopper dredge, having been christened in 1987. Since 1999, the dredging industry has built five new large hopper dredges. The Magdalen will be the 15th U.S.-flag hopper dredge.
WMI’s Dredging Division is located at 304 Gaille Drive, Covington, Louisiana 70433.
Phone: 985-875-2500 | Fax: 985-875-2570
Dor dredging solicitations contact WMI Vice President Chuck Broussard at: [email protected].