Dundalk dredger, the Hebble Sand, which was previously owned by the Dundalk Port Company, has departed the dry dock in Dublin Port and is currently heading for Campbeltown, on the Mull of Kintyre Peninsula
The grab-hopper dredger which has remained in Dublin Port for more than one year departed Dublin Port on Friday, August 3rd.
Last October the vessel was sold to Abco Marine Ltd, a plant company based in Hillsborough Co. Down which specialises in support services in the construction, engineering and dredging projects in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
The dredger was sent to Alexandra Basin in Dublin two days after the assets, liabilities and operations of the Dundalk Port Company were transferred to the Dublin Port Company in July 2011.
This was after economist Colm McCarthy recommended that smaller commercial ports should be merged with ports in Dublin, Cork or Shannon Foynes.
Shortly afterward the chief executive of Dundalk Port Company Captain Frank Allen stepped down after eight years to become Dun Laoghaire’s new Harbour Master.
After taking over, the Dublin Port Company decided to cease the businesses of dredging, ships agency and stevedoring in the Dundalk Port and this resulted in the 757 tonne dredger being placed for sale.
This was indeed a sad day for the Dundalk Port as they had previously been the only port company to own and operate a dredger in the Republic of Ireland.
On Friday the vessol made the short journey across the basin to the river-berth alongside Ocean Pier to prepare for her first repositioning voyage under new owners Abco Marine Ltd,
She arrived in Campbeltown on August 4th at 4pm.
The veteran vessel has been around for five decades and has carried out numerous contract assignments in ports throughout Ireland including work on the Samuel Beckett swing-bridge in Dublin and in the Lobnitz Basin in Scotland.
Yet despite despite nearing her fiftieth birthday and receiving the usual wear and tear that is associated with dredging, the veteran vessel remains in immaculate condition.
She has also managed to retain her original name since her launching from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft who built her for British Dredging back in 1963.
In 2009 the 757 tonnes ship was made open to the public at the Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival.
The unique Hebble Sand joined the other tall-ships that lined the Liffey Quays which surprised and thrilled visitors, as it provided a rare opportunity for them to gain access to a dredger which is not usually amongst the popular tall-ships and naval vessels.