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LAUNCH OF DREDGE JS CHATRY

REMARKS PREPARED FOR

RICHARD BALZANO

DEPUTY MARITIME ADMINISTRATOR

LAUNCH OF DREDGE JS CHATRY

MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 2019

Thank you to weeks marine for inviting the maritime administration to be part of this day—and congratulations on the launch of the JS Chatry.

Admiral Buzby and I thought it was important for the Maritime Administration to be here and to ‘fly the flag’ so to speak because we want everyone to know our commitment to American maritime and expanding the U.S.-flag fleet.

We know that it’s in the national interest that there be sufficient capacity in the U.S. flag dredging fleet to meet the needs of the coastal zones for dredging and coastal protection/restoration.

Regrettably, the corps of engineers has had several circumstances of soliciting bids for dredging services to provide navigation on waterways only to receive no bids because the U.S. flag dredges capable of doing the work were already fully employed.

This has been true for cutter suction dredges as well as seagoing hopper dredges.

In recent years, particularly since Superstorm Sandy in 2013, beach and barrier island restoration projects made necessary by hurricanes have employed high capacity dredges for extended time frames.

For example, in 2019 on the lower Mississippi River, the U.S. flag private sector dredge fleet has had to be supplemented by corps of engineers-owned dredges to keep the shipping channel open – with draft restrictions.

That’s why the investment Weeks Marine has made in the Chatry, and previously in the hopper dredge Magdalena, is so important and so welcome.

My congratulations again to everyone at Weeks Marine. 

Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2019