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The Rig Report—The BAYPORT


a dredge vessel at drydock in Louisiana.
The dredge BAYPORT at the Bollinger Shipyard in Amelia, Louisiana, at the end of the maintenance period. Photo credit: Dave McPeak-Tower Operator

To meet regulatory vessel requirements for the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the hopper dredge BAYPORT drydocks twice every five years to undergo mandatory inspection and maintenance. The BAYPORT was most recently drydocked at the Bollinger Shipyard in Amelia, Louisiana. A majority of the inspection is conducted by ABS and the USCG to identify concerns such as damage, warped sections of the vessel, and worn surfaces. “Both ABS and the USCG conduct a thorough investigation of the ship’s hull to determine the sections that need to be replaced,” says Tony Spaulding, port engineer. “Not pertaining to the BAYPORT, but some of the most common things found could be pitted metal and bent frames, with those pieces needing to be replaced.”Unlike most routine dry docks, this particular event was special for the BAYPORT crew and the shipyard crew, as the drag arms of the vessel were removed for the first time since the ship set sail 20 years ago. “Taking the drag arms off to replace its tracks has never been done before, so it was pretty cool,” says Mike Coffey, Captain of the BAYPORT. “The timeframe for vessel maintenance varies for each vessel, but because we had to replace the tracks of the drag arms, this visit took longer than normal maintenance routines.”

The dredge BAYPORT at the Bollinger Shipyard in Amelia, Louisiana, at the end of the maintenance period. Photo credit: Dave McPeak-Tower Operator

Whenever the ship navigates through high volume shipping channels like the Panama Canal, the drag arms are pulled in toward the vessel and sit on the tracks so nothing sticks out during travel. 20 years of wear and tear of the tracks prompted crews to move forward with the replacement. In addition to the repairs, crews replaced all jetting pipe along with the trunnion barrels. The galley and mess deck were gutted and completely rebuilt. The dredge pumps were top-end overhauled and the generators were in-frame overhauled.


“I took over the BAYPORT in January 2021, so this is my first dry dock experience with this vessel,” Tony explains. “With the replacement of the drag arms and other sections of the dredge, I was able to experience something that has never been done before with this ship. I learned a lot during the maintenance process, and I already know how to approach things differently next time this event comes around.”


The BAYPORT left the shipyard in February 2022, heading through the Panama Canal to perform the West Coast Hopper Maintenance Dredging project for USACE Portland District.



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