Former Dundalk Dredger, the Hebble Sand, departs dry dock in Dublin Port

Last week the dredger departed the dry-dock in Dublin Port in readiness for her new owners Abco Marine Ltd,

Last week the dredger departed the dry-dock in Dublin Port in readiness for her new owners Abco Marine Ltd,

A former Dundalk dredger, the Hebble Sand, which was previously owned by the Dundalk Port Company, has departed the dry dock in Dublin Port in preparation for her new owners.

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 retained her original name since her launch from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft for British Dredging in 1963. She remains in prime condition despite nearing her fiftieth birthday and recieving the usual wear and tear that is associated with dredging.

For those not familiar with dredgers, a dredger is a ship or boat equipped with a dredge. Dredging involves gathering up excess bottom sediment and disposing of it to ensure that waterways are navigable. Other uses of dredging include land reclaimation, fishing technique, sand replenishment, the harvesting of materials and flood prevention.

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.

The veteran vessel has carried out numerous contract assignments over her five decade life span , in ports throughout Ireland including work on the Samuel Beckett swing-bridge in Dublin and in the Lobnitz Basin in Scotland.