Russia lacks new dredging fleet

Example of old Russian dredger. Credit: Vladislav Vorotnikov

The average age of dredging fleet in Russia is 36 years and the country urgently needs to put new dredgers into operation, Gennady Egorov, director of the St. Petersburg-based Marine Engineering Bureau, said in a statement on 27 February.

As of today, the Russian technical fleet consists of 2,700 vessels. During the past few years, approximately 100 dredgers were put into operation in different parts of the country, most of them being classic non-self-propelled dredgers, Egorov said. The biggest Russian companies producing dredgers in Russia now are Tsimlyansk Hydromechanization Plant and Rybinsk Hydromechanization Plant, Egorov said.

Additionally, 20 mud boats were built in Russia over the past few years, including three self-propelled with a total volume capacity of 600 square meters each – all of which were used for dredging works at the Onega Shipbuilding Plant. Russia is also importing these vessels, and yet the pace of their renewal remains miserable, Egorov admitted.

Some types of dredging vessels are not built in Russia at all, for example, multi-bucket dredgers, Egorov said.

There are some positive developments, as the Russian shipbuilding plant Lotos together with IHC has recently begun building four bucket-wheel dredgers. In total, the plant could build 20 dredgers within the confines of that project. The vessels would be used on various dredging projects on internal waterways.

This type of dredger is apparently the only one the Russian plants keep building, Egorov said. All other dredgers are imported into the country.

In March 2020, Russian federal sea ports agency Rosmorport will expand its fleet with the Ice Class trailing suction hopper dredger 2000 Yuri Masluykov. The government agencies describe this vessel as the most advanced dredger built in Russia since Soviet times.

Rosmorport plans to order four new dredgers by 2030, including one non-self-propelled cutter suction dredger and three self-propelled dredgers, each with a hold volume of 1,000 cubic metres, Vasily Strugov, deputy director of the Russian sea port agency, said, not providing any information regarding whether those vessels could be built on domestic shipyards.

Basically, Russia needs to establish its own range of dredging equipment in order to improve the effectiveness and meet the growing demand for dredging operations in the country, Egorov said.