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Technology is paying off – Dredging in Abu Dhabi

By Samer Amin

NMDC has embarked on implementing latest technologies to its core business; Dredging and Marine Construction.

During the last couple of decades, all new built heavy duty cutter suction dredgers are equipped with state of the art Dredge Automation system, AC drives, high efficiency pumps, etc… which allowed having vessels with optimum performance and full control capabilities.


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Inspired by the company vision to become an independent player in the middle east market and the need to be proficient and competitive among other big international players in the business, NMDC recognized the need for improving the utilization of its fleet in terms of efficiency, dredging works accuracy and quality and for investing in its people to improve their competency and skills standard. In the last few years, many hi-tech developments have been introduced; among them, the Dredge Training Center featuring the world’s latest IHC Systems multi platform cutter dredger simulator, the deployment of Teledyne PDS chart based three dimensional dredge presentation systems on heavy duty dredgers and a vast number of survey boats, support craft, cranes and barges and the use of sophisticated survey equipment such as the multi-beam echo sounders.

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Obviously, NMDC invested considerable funds to provide the technology and expects a good return on this investment.

The dredge training center is aimed at improving the standard of dredge operators and training of newcomers, the center developed and launched intensive dredge masters training program to revamp their automation skills and the way they do their job. This was extended to training on the newly introduced Teledyne PDS systems and including training of dredge superintendents, surveyors and technical staff.

Major project contracts recently awarded to NMDC posed cost, accuracy and quality challenges; quay walls, offshore islands, deep ports, nuclear plants and oil field infrastructures are just an example. The combined implementation of state of the art technologies in dredge automation and 3D presentation systems coupled with the centi-metric accuracy RTK positioning are the right tools for experienced and trained dredge masters and project engineers to face these challenges.

When cutting quay walls in a limited space, the dredger has to work in difficult angles, the profile could not be accurately controlled without having accurate 3D visualization of the cutter position relative to the proposed design, the Teledyne PDS system was the right tool for the job. On the other hand, seamless, continuous profiles and efficient production are well maintained by the dredge masters; thanks to the IHC Systems automation.

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GASCO project in Ruwais got a big byte of these technologies, Al Sadr, Al Mirfa and Kattouf cutter suction dredgers worked in this project, all are equipped with IHC Systems’ automation, and in the beginning of 2012 we introduced the Teledyne PDS systems with RTK positioning, crew training was done onsite and in NMDC dredge training center. Shortly after, project team reported improvement in the efficiency of the dredgers, and the later survey reports received from the project showed great improvement in dredging accuracy.

The Ruwais project team is very happy with the achievements made through the use of technology. In recent email, the project manager Andrew Belle quoted “Happy to confirm that the automation and the Teledyne PDS systems are paying off!!”

By Samer Amin, Electrical Division Superintendent,
Technical Department
National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC)
P O Box 3649 Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
www.nmdc.com