The 60 m Tommy Norton is the first dredge built by Damen for an Australian customer and is now at work ensuring ocean access for vessels crossing the entrance bar to the Gippsland Lakes area.
The maintenance dredging also helps reduce the risk of flooding to local communities.
Capable of dredging to depths of 15 m, the dredge has been built with bottom doors to enable self-emptying and can alternate between a bow connection and rainbow expulsion for beach reclamation work. To increase the vessel's payload capacity when dredging sand with a high specific density, Damen has reduced the freeboard of the vessel and applied a dredge mark.
"Gippsland Ports is extremely proud to take delivery of the trailing suction hopper dredger, Tommy Norton. This project has been a significant undertaking by Gippsland Ports on behalf of the State of Victoria and we are delighted to have delivered an excellent vessel both on time and within budge," said Geoff Hocking, the Chair of Gippsland Ports. "To have been able to achieve this outcome is testimony to the shipbuilder, Damen Shipyards Group and Gippsland Ports' project managers, supported by our appointed technical and quality support team. We anticipate Tommy Norton will provide decades of safer and more reliable bar crossing in the same manner as its namesake did in the 1870s prior to the creation of the artificial entrance."