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Understanding Dredging

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Young engineers-to-be visit vessels in the Port of Ghent


Young engineers-to-be visit vessels in the Port of Ghent

On 12th April 2018, Young CEDA Belgian section invited 50 students and young professionals to visit two Jan De NUL dredgers. The dredgers, TSHD Taccola and CSD Fernão de Magalhães, were berthed along a quay wall in the Port of Ghent where they were being prepared for their next assignments.

To make it easier to access to all areas of the vessels, the group was divided into three and a Young CEDA representative led each group on a tour inside each dredger.

The TSHD Taccola is a 4,400m³ hopper, powered by two 2.8MW diesel engines, which drive all the dredge equipment on board, and the pumps and propulsion are electrically driven. On board, Captain Simon Van den Abeele welcomed us on the bridge for the one-hour tour which covered the entire vessel. As the group walked through, the Young CEDA representatives, together with crew members, explained the basics of dredging, and how each component was important to the flow of the soil throughout the dredging process.

Young-CEDA-2018-04-12-pictureThe Fernão de Magalhães is a very impressive cutter suction dredger with a total installed power of 24MW. Attendees were surprised at the high-tech nature of the dredge desk, and delighted by the crew’s enthusiasm to show off their vessel. One glance inside the pump room was enough to overwhelm the engineers-to-be as the sheer size of the two pump houses was beyond their expectations. It was no surprise then to hear that, during its time on the Suez Canal project, the vessel was capable of pumping over 200,000m³ per day to the shore.

The tours were followed by a seminar which highlighted the basic engineering skills of dredging and put the vessels in context. Famous engineers, such as Bernouilli and Euler, were used to link the basic engineering science, taught in the universities, with the practical application of dredging.

We finished day in the Fernão de Magalhães’s bar where we enjoyed drinks and a chat with the vessel captain, Joost De Ridder, and some of his staff. There were many interesting questions about dredging, working abroad, and engineering skills requirements. It was very reassuring to see that there was such a great enthusiasm in the group to learn more about joining the dredging community.