A Damen Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger (TSHD) 650 has successfully completed sea trials in Shanghai and has now sailed to new owner, Gippsland Ports in Australia on her own keel. The TSHD, named Tommy Norton, is the first Damen dredger built for Australia.

Having left Shanghai on 14 July, a Damen team sailed Tommy Norton approximately 5,000 nautical miles over a period of around 30 days to reach Australia. Along the way, the vessel stopped off in Guam for bunkering and to enable the crew to take on supplies of fresh water and food.

Damen’s team made extensive preparations for the voyage, as Captain Martin van Krieken explains: “Before embarking on such a trip, there is a lot to do. We have to make sure we have enough supplies on board for our safe manning of seven crew — and to ensure that everyone is familiar with the vessel. Then there’s voyage planning, draught and stability calculations, weather routing, establishing of a maintenance schedule and checking all on board equipment to take into account.”

Van Krieken highlights that safety is given the highest priority during these preparations. “One of the key points of focus is the setting up of both an International Safety Management (ISM) and an International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) system, both of which are certified by Bureau Veritas prior to departure. This includes rollout of a number of drills — including abandon ship, man overboard, fire, emergency steering, collision, oil spills, grounding and piracy. Nothing is left to chance.”

Additionally, the team had on board a comprehensive set of medical equipment and medicines in case of injury or sickness. As Captain,Van Krieken is trained to administer treatment for most common medical situations. He can also count of the assistance of the Netherlands’ 24- hour doctor support service for Dutch Captains. In case of a medical situation occurring, these qualified professionals judge if treatment is necessary and what form it should take.

After arriving in Australia, the Tommy Norton embarked upon dredging trials.