March 1, 2018
It is hard to believe, but we are rapidly approaching “Year 7” of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ use of the shallow draft dredge, the MURDEN. The innovative dredge was built in Morgan City, Louisiana, and is maintained and operated by the USACE Wilmington, NC District.
The main purpose of the MURDEN is to provide dredging along the Atlantic coast to provide safe and reliable maritime navigation for the U.S. Coast Guard and the many other vessels that travel the east coastline.
What makes the MURDEN so unique was the trailblazing choice to use water hydraulics as its means to open and close the hopper. The MURDEN is a split-hull hopper, meaning the boat literally splits in two when it comes time to dump what it has dredged. Historically, dredge hoppers have been powered by oil hydraulic systems, but the MURDEN’s designers wanted to go with an environmentally safe choice after an oil hydraulic leak into the water, damaging the ecosystem.
BOC Water Hydraulics was more than willing to help the builders with this vision. We designed and produced 16” cylinders with an 86” stroke to power the hopper. While it was a risk, as the first time it had ever been done, the risk has paid off considerably for the USACE. In its 7 years of use, the USACE has spent less than $1,000 maintaining the water hydraulic system and entirely eliminated any environmental concerns associated with operating an oil hydraulic system.
While there was some initial apprehension from some at the USACE, nearly everyone is now on board with water hydraulics a useful method of hopper operation. As MURDEN’s Chief Engineer, David Cribbs, stated, “The system I doubted the most (water hydraulics) is ironically my most reliable.”
For anyone working in the maritime industry, looking for an environmentally safe, and reliable system, please contact BOC today! We are more than willing to look at any application with you, to see how we can help you succeed!