Posted March 5, 2018
The long-awaited new Barnstable County dredge has finally arrived on Cape Cod.
Docked at the bulkhead at the entrance to Falmouth Inner Harbor, the dredge — dubbed the Sand Shifter — arrived on Tuesday after a six-hour trip from a Fairhaven shipyard.
The nearly $2 million dredge is being delivered six months later than stipulated in the county’s contract with Ellicott Dredge of Maryland, due to kinks in its technologically advanced hydraulics and computer electronics systems. Ellicott was contractually obligated to pay the county a $200 per day penalty for late delivery.
The dredge will undergo final testing of its equipment with Ellicott staff members in Falmouth before Barnstable County takes official possession next week.
“They (Ellicott) have been great to work with,” said interim Assistant County Administrator Stephen Tebo, explaining the intricacies involved in building a customized dredge to maintain the Cape’s harbors, inlets and channels.
The Sand Shifter will join the 22-year-old Codfish in the county’s municipal dredge program, which generates up to $1.8 million in revenue per year for the Cape’s regional government.
The decision to add a second dredge to the fleet was based on the high-demand for dredging projects around the region, and state Department of Environmental Protection annual work restrictions dictated by the presence of certain marine life, including the annual migration of winter flounder.
The plan is to have one dredge stationed on each side of the Cape — ocean and bay — unless projects “stack-up” on one side or the other, according to Tebo.
At least two full-time deckhands will be hired in the coming weeks to work on the Sand Shifter before it begins its first project on the Eel River in Falmouth.
Stephen Bradbury, captain of the Sand Shifter, extolled the new features and technology of the new dredge during a tour of the vessel on Thursday.
“It’s a completely new design,” he said, comparing it with the Codfish.
The new dredge is more fuel-efficient, can pump sediment a greater distance and can dig deeper and wider, allowing it to complete projects faster, Bradbury said.
Bradbury’s excitement peaked when he showed off the computerized high-tech control room of the new dredge.
“This is like ‘Star Wars’ compared to the Codfish,” he said.
Source: Cape Cod Times