Belgium-based marine contractor DEME, on Wednesday, announced “a first” in Flanders, a region in the northern part of Belgium.

Namely, its dual fuel trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) ‘Scheldt River’ is currently carrying out maintenance dredging work on the Scheldt river and during this work, the vessel is operating on LNG.

In another milestone, DEME said that the ‘Scheldt River’ last week became the first dredger to be bunkered with LNG in the Port of Antwerp, near the Kallo lock. 

The dredging work is being carried out on behalf of the Flemish government and is necessary to ensure the port’s maritime accessibility, the company explained.

“The TSHD ‘Scheldt River’ was commissioned in 2017 and is one of the very first dredgers in the industry capable of operating on a variety of fuels. For several years now, DEME has been investing heavily in eco-friendly, energy-saving technology to reduce emissions from its vessels. It is also testing the possibilities of emission-free fuels such as green methanol and green hydrogen,” DEME said.

“Low-emission operations are the new benchmark for maintenance dredging on the Scheldt. Through its ongoing investment in new technologies, DEME aims to maintain its leading position in the transition to alternative fuels in the dredging industry,” says Luc Vandenbulcke, CEO of DEME Group. “With our new vessels, we don’t want to merely meet changing environmental standards, we want to exceed them. We want to stay one step ahead of the regulations in order to make the maintenance of our ports and their access channels more sustainable – a requirement that is even more important when we are working in densely populated regions and near Natura 2000 areas.”

The maintenance dredging work on the Scheldt is being performed on behalf of the Department of Mobility and Public Works. The Maritime Access section ensures that vessels can reach the Flemish sea ports easily and is therefore responsible for the management, control and inspection of this dredging work.

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