Signal Ship Repair redelivers dredge Wheeler

Dredge-WheelerOCTOBER 17, 2013 — Signal Ship Repair (SSR), Mobile, AL, a division of Signal International, Inc., reports that it recently redelivered the dredge Wheeler to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) after a major conversion.

Wheeler emerges from Signal Ship repair floating dry dock

The Wheeler, at just over 408 feet in length, is the largest hopper dredge in the Corps of Engineers' fleet of dredges. The repowering contract with SSR consisted of replacing the Cooper Bessemer main propulsion and dredge generator engines with modern Caterpillar C280 diesel engines.

SSR installed new shafts, hubs, reduction gears and hydraulics.

The ship's three service generators were replaced and the bow thruster received a new ABB variable frequency drive. The USACE had EMS Marcon on-site to upgrade the propulsion control and monitoring system.

SSR worked closely with Ship Architects, Inc. to detail the major equipment removal and installation plans for the repowering project. SSR and Ship Architects also teamed to perform an ABS witnessed incline experiment and revised the  Wheeler's stability documentation.

Throughout the project, SSR worked closely with the Wheeler's home USACE office in New Orleans, Louisiana and the USACE Marine Design Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Signal Ship Repair's (SSR) primary business is ship repair and conversion. Located in downtown Mobile, Alabama, its shipyard facility of 53 acres and 4,400 feet of waterfront operates one Panamax and one 4,500 ton dry dock. SSR offers mooring capability for vessels 1,000 feet (305 meters) in length.

carnival wheelerThough SSR does not mention it, among the challenges it faced during the work on the Wheeler was an unfortunate encounter with the cruise ship Carnival Triumph which slammed into the dredge after breaking its moorings at BAE Ship Repair Mobile in a widely publicized April 3 incident (see earlier story) that reportedly caused damage both to the dredge and to SSR facilities.

Flashback: April encounter with Carnival Triumph