Construction of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) Dredging Service’s third new dredger is underway following the keel laying ceremony performed jointly by TNPA and IHC at their shipbuilding yard in Rotterdam in January.

During this traditional maritime ceremony – which takes place during the earliest stages of a ship’s construction – shipbuilders place one or two newly minted coins under the keel block of the new ship. This is done to invite good fortune during construction and the life of the ship.

During the TNPA/IHC ceremony, a Mandela coin was symbolically placed underneath the keel of the dredger. When construction of the dredger is complete, the coin will sail to Durban with the dredger and be returned to TNPA.

The not yet named 5 500 m³ trailing-suction hopper dredger is the largest in Africa and the third to be built as part of a R2 billion programme to renew South Africa’s dredging fleet.

The contract for its construction was awarded to IHC in 2014. This trailing suction dredger will be fitted with the latest technology and the estimated 1400 tons of steel used in the dredger is being imported from South Africa.

The new dredger will replace the 2800m3 Ingwenya. The launching ceremony is planned for May and an earlier than expected delivery is set for the end January 2016.