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Italy/UK dredger collaboration debuts at Seawork

A collaboration which dates to an initial meeting at Seawork has led to Italian dredger manufacturer Italdraghe and UK workboat builder Goodchild Marine commissioning the first of a new range of dredgers in Essex UK earlier this month.

The launch and commissioning of the first MarinaMaster 8000 dredger at North Fambridge Harbour was followed by the vessel going straight to work clearing sediment from Fambridge Yacht Haven’s harbour through the spring, with completion in time for it to appear on the floating pontoon at Seawork 2013. It will then move on to dredge another Yacht Havens harbour at Neyland in Wales.

The MarinaMaster 8000 was designed by Alan Goodchild of Goodchild Marine then engineered and manufactured by Italdraghe at its facilities in Italy. The road transportable dredger is self propelled, with power supplied by a single Iveco C8 marine diesel, which means the vessel can also navigate independently between dredging sites. It measures 13.7m long and has a specially devised swinging sponson system which results in road width of just 4.1m. The compact vessel can work safely in tight spaces such as found in marinas. It can work under floating pontoons and between finger berths without the need to remove them and can dredge to a depth of 8m.

An innovative spud pole system which positions the dredger on the mud and gives it stability as the cutter head descends for a sweep. The spud poles stop drag and counteract any backwash movement generated by the effort of the cutter. They also enhance the vessel’s manoeuvrability, allowing it to ‘walk’ forwards or backwards in a straight line or be made to pivot on around leg, allowing a full range of motion with total accuracy. The dredger can thus be positioned so that each sweep is over a new area, making progress more efficient.

The MarinaMaster was born of Yacht Havens being impressed by the Goodchild Marine dredger Rufford II, also designed by Alan Goodchild. Yacht Havens defined the requirements to be met at its marinas and Alan Goodchild devised the original concept for MarinaMaster 8000. Realising the unusual engineering demands led to the collaboration with Italdraghe, which casts its own pumps and specialises in bringing together the component pieces to make up a bespoke power train assembly as well as designing and building its own cutter suction dredgers.

Yacht Havens’ diverse requirements included the 8m dredging depth at Neyland Marina compared to the more standard 3m depth at Fambridge Marina as well as the necessity of pumping mud up to 1km to its discharge point at Neyland.