Weeks Marine Inc. (WMI) has ordered a new $60 million oceangoing, 30-inch hydraulic cutter suction dredge, the JS 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.
“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.”
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.
The dredge is named for Senior Vice President and Manager of Weeks Marine’s Dredging Division, J. Stephen Chatry.
“[Chatry] is a life-long Louisianan and has been a key member of our team as we have grown the business in Louisiana and throughout the United States,” Weeks said.
“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.”
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 Madalen 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 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, WMI said 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.