DISCOVER Magazine #7

Three CSDs 500 bring flood prevention to Azerbaijan

Published in category: Dredging & Marine Contracting
Fuad Bagirov CSD 500 Akram Gahramanov
Head of the Caspian Basin Accident Rescue Service
International Relations, Marketing and Procurement Department
Akram Gahramanov CSD 500 Fuad Baghirov
Director of the Caspian Basin Accident
Rescue Service, the Division of MES responsible for dredging


In May 2010, the southern and central regions of Azerbaijan were hit by the worst floods in more then 50 years following a period of unusually heavy rainfall. Worst affected was the area around the capital, Baku, where the rivers Kura and Araz meet. Houses were flooded and destroyed, and lives were lost. The impact of the runoff from the heavy rain was made worse by the fact that, when the reservoirs in the regions reached full capacity, they also had to start discharging into the rivers. Banks burst, dams overflowed and the surrounding lands were overwhelmed.

“In the subsequent investigations it was determined by the Azerbaijan Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) that measures had to be taken to ensure that the rivers could more efficiently handle the runoff and move it into the Caspian Sea as quickly as possible,” commented Akram Gahramanov, head of the Caspian Basin Accident Rescue Service international relations, marketing and procurement department.

No-one knows how to manage flooding and river works better than the Dutch, and we chose Damen based on its quality, experience and comprehensive product range.

Six months from contract to delivery

Just twenty months later, on 24 January 2012, Damen Shipyards delivered three Cutter Suction Dredgers (CSD) 500 to the MES in Azerbaijan. In fact, the three dredgers were built, outfitted, delivered and commissioned within six months of the contract taking effect, due to Damen’s philosophy of series production and building for stock. On arrival they were inspected by President Ilham Aliyev and he was briefed by Damen representatives on their features and capabilities. Their purpose – to deepen and maintain the channels of the Kura River water system and other strategic waterways.

“With no previous experience of dredging in the country, our staff needed training in how to operate and maintain the vessels,” continued Akram Gahramanov. “Damen provided a full support package that included two permanent Damen specialists; one an expert in dredging project management, the other in technical assistance. They transferred their knowledge to our personnel through training and on-the-job experience.”

Damen’s CSD 500 is a popular model with over 60 to be found operating all over the world. They are equally at home undertaking maintenance and capital dredging in fresh and salt water environments. One of the largest models in Damen’s CSD range, the CSD 500 is 38.5 metres in length, can work at depths from 2.5 metres up to 14 metres, has a maximum swing with of just under 40 metres, and is able to pump 4,000 m³ of water/soil mixture per hour.

The ‘500’ notation refers to the 500mm discharge pipe, which is fed by 180 kW of cutter power. This allows the point of direct discharge to be up to 1,500 metres from the vessel, but with the addition of booster stations this can be extended to 5,000 metres. The total installed power on board is 1,293 kW. The three for the MES were outfitted with a large number of options to maximise safety and dredging efficiency, and to ensure comfortable working conditions for the vessels’ crews. These included anchor booms, spud carriage pontoons and accommodation. Full communications packages, dredge pump performance monitoring instrumentation and position visualisation Navguard systems were also installed in the operating cabins.

Damen CSD 500 in work

“Over the past six years the area of operations for the CSDs 500 has expanded to cover the delta and the Salyan and Neftchala districts as well as the Kura river,” says Fuad Baghirov director of the Caspian Basin Accident Rescue Service, the division of MES responsible for dredging. “By working in more of the waterways around the capital we are able to further increase the ability of the river network to manage exceptionally high levels of water flow in the event of unusually heavy rainfall. Having completed an initial dredging programme to bring the waterways up to the required standard, the dredgers are now mostly occupied with maintenance dredging, although we are also using them on our new Port Alat area.”

Despite the busy workload of the dredgers when, at the end of 2018, Damen technicians visited Azerbaijan to inspect them, they found them to be in excellent working order. The professionalism of the crews and local maintenance teams applying the training provided by Damen over the first two years had ensured that they had all the necessary skills to operate and take care of their vessels.

“The design and quality of the CSDs 500 is really good, and they are easy to operate and highly productive,” concludes Fuad Baghirov. “MES is now the only state organisation in Azerbaijan that is experienced in dredging operations of this type. We plan to move on to harbour dredging in the Caspian Sea itself, and also to make our capabilities available to commercial organisations and other state bodies.”

Damen CSD 500 wide view

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