Last week, a unique situation occurred off the coast of Zeeland, the Netherlands. Van Oord’s two newest identical trailing suction hopper dredgers Vox Ariane and Vox Apolonia were working together to reinforce the coastline, both powered by LNG.

The project concerns beach nourishment works along the Dutch coast. These works are part of the Netherlands’ Coastline Care programme of Rijkswaterstaat, the executive agency of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, intended to reinforce the Dutch coast.

Van Oord’s scope includes beach- and trench wall replenishment at the Westkapelse Zeedijk, Oostgat and Nieuwvliet-Groede in the province of Zeeland. During beach replenishment, sand is pumped to the beach by a trailing suction hopper dredger via a pipeline. Applying this replenishment method allows the stabilisation of the coastline, protecting coastal communities and infrastructure.

The trench wall replenishment method means that parts of the channel just off the coast, the Oostgat, are filled with sand. If it becomes less deep, the current can carry less sand and the coast stays in place longer. In total, approximately 4 million cubic metres of sand will be applied.

Also read: Van Oord lands first job for new installation giant Boreas

Net-zero emissions

What makes this project extra special is that Vox Ariane and Vox Apolonia are running on LNG during the project execution, a more sustainable alternative for Marine Gas Oil (MGO), free of sulphur and particulates. The combustion process is also different to that of MGO, resulting in far less nitrogen dioxide being emitted.

Van Oord sees switching to this kind of alternative sources of fuel for its fleet as a way to get to the company’s net-zero emissions targets by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Also read: Van Oord commits to climate adaptation, the wait is for uptake

Three new LNG-powered trailing suction hopper dredgers

Vox Apolonia and Vox Ariane are part of a series of three brand new trailing suction hopper dredgers that are being added to Van Oord’s fleet. The third sister vessel Vox Alexia will be christened this September. These vessels will help Van Oord to further modernise its fleet, making it more innovative and energy efficient.

Their LNG fuel system and energy-efficient design will reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions substantially. It is precisely for this reason that the three vessels were presented with the Dutch Maritime KVNR Shipping Award in 2022. According to the jury, Van Oord’s introduction of the three vessels marks it as ‘a trailblazer for international standards aimed at minimising climate and environmental impact within the available technological capabilities’.

Also read: What Van Oord’s LNG dredger Vox Apolonia looks like up close