China working on dredger twice as powerful as those that built islands in South China Sea

Dredgers suck up material from the sea floor and fire it from their sterns (Natallia Yaumenenka/
China is working on an “island builder” super-dredger that will be significantly more potent than the most powerful existing ships, the South China Morning Post reports

The dredger will have a 10MW “reamer” – the part of the vessel that sucks up mud, rock and silt and fires it from its stern. 

The vessel is being built by the Tianjin Waterway Bureau, a subsidiary of China Communications, which operates the most powerful dredger fleet in the world.

The bureau’s flagship used to be the Tian Jing (“Celestial Whale”), which was the lead vessel in the construction of China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea in 2013 and 2014. This has a 4.4MW reamer, which was capable of excavating 4,500 cubic metres of sand an hour and jetting it a distance of 6km.

The company launched the Tian Kun in 2019, which had a 6.6MW reamer.

Qin Bin, the chief engineer of the Tianjin Waterway Bureau, told the SCMP: “The development of the new vessel is not just a simple enlargement in terms of reamer power, hull size, etc, but a qualitative leap forward.”

China has invested heavily in the dredging industry over the past two decades and has built more than 200 vessels, becoming the world’s largest maker of dredgers.

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