The Great Contender
Abeko expands fleet with Damen’s Dredging Know-How
Abeko Dredging Marine Components
Abeko Dredging & Marine Contractors is a growing company – offering its skills to small and medium sized dredging projects such as capital and maintenance works, sand dredging and trenching. The Netherlandsbased company by no means limits itself to Dutch projects; its clients are based from Kent to Qatar.
“In 2010, we decided that we needed a TSHD to supplement our three backhoes,” begins Abeko Managing Director Evert Sprengers. “We didn’t want to compete directly with the big dredging companies – but having a TSHD in our fleet would really complement some of the contracts that we were tendering.” This decision reflects Abeko’s overall business strategy of being a full service provider.
A new build vessel was not in Abeko’s plan, so the company looked at converting an existing vessel – one in the form of an 88-metre coaster. “With a conversion, you have to make compromises,” continues Mr Sprengers. “For us, the decision was a financial one. The price difference between buying a new ship or converting an existing vessel was a major factor. After approaching a number of companies, including the vessel’s original builder and another Dutch dredging shipyard, about the practicalities of converting a vessel, Mr Sprengers knocked on Damen’s door. “From day one, they were enthusiastic and they took us seriously. They had the engineering capacity and the willingness to make the project a success. We knew that if we were going to take this further, then it would be with Damen.”
To reduce the costs of drydocking, the conversion process was meticulously planned: “We pre-fabed everything so that we only had to go on the slipway for a few days to fit it all.” The scope of work required was obviously comprehensive: “Basically, we stripped it. New engines, dredge pump, water jets, trailing suction pipe and auxiliary generators – all from Damen. They have such buying power, that we bought all this equipment through them.”
The conversion demanded close cooperation between Damen and Abeko’s chosen shipyard. “I can honestly say that Damen’s engineering was superb,” enthuses Mr Sprengers. “They delivered on time and on budget. And we ended up with a very modern ship – one that is more than a standard TSHD.”
Abeko has been operating this vessel for three years now, mainly for maintenance dredging contracts in Germany, Denmark and the UK: “But we haven’t needed toreplace a bottom door seal yet. And with four azimuth thrusters and two spuds, the vessel is very manoeuvrable. This means good positioning, productivity and fuel savings.”
Finally, what name did Abeko choose for its newly converted TSHD? “Well, we named her Contender,” concludes Mr Sprengers. “Because, within our peers, we wanted to be in charge of our own destiny.”
A growing team
Abeko has a fleet capable of all aspects of dredging. “Our vessels work together,” explains Mr Sprengers. “By combining our backhoe dredgers, our multifunctional Multi Cat and now the TSHD, we can offer our clients the total package.”