To allow larger vessels to enter and leave the port of Liepaja in Latvia, the access channel to the port has been dredged with removal of nearly three million cubic metres of sediments.

Jan de Nul's Cutter Suction Dredger 'Fernão de Magalhães'

Jan de Nul's Cutter Suction Dredger 'Fernão de Magalhães'

The scope for Jan De Nul Group entailed the deepening of the port access channel from 12.5m to 14.5m, and to create a new navigation channel of 14m towards one of the main bulk terminals within the port area.

Liepaja is one of the three major ports in Latvia, located along the west coast. It is known for the cold temperatures in winter and adverse weather conditions in general. A big challenge for the Jan De Nul vessels was the high waves that regularly can be observed in the Baltic Sea, especially during winter. As Liepaja’s nickname ‘The city where the wind is born’ suggests, strong winds also had an impact on the project planning.

For the dredging works, the self-propelled Cutter Suction Dredger Fernão de Magalhães, assisted by three split hopper barges, was specifically chosen because of the heterogenous material in the Baltic Sea. The Fernão de Magalhães had to remove very hard-to-dredge glacial sediments of sand, clay, stone and large boulders.

Despite these challenging weather and soil conditions Jan De Nul Group was able to deliver the project in less than 9 months, 1.5 months ahead of schedule.

By Jake Frith