SEPTEMBER 30, 2012 -- Art Anderson Associates, Bremerton, Wash., has designed a new dredge vessel for Pacifica, a Seattle-based vehicle assembler that recently delivered the 50-foot vessel to a customer for gold dredging operations near Nome, Alaska.
Pacifica engaged Art Anderson Associates in December, 2011 to develop a design concept into a complete design for construction. Art Anderson's naval architects and marine engineers began by preparing a computer-generated model of the vessel based on the concept drawings, which was the basis for initial hydrostatic and weight calculations.
In Phase II of the project, Art Anderson Associates developed construction drawings for the hull and superstructure, and finalized the weight and stability calculations. In the project's final phase, the team provided fuel, water and controls design assistance, along with support for deployment.
The vessel was designed specifically to meet the unique requirements of sub-surface dredging operations in the remote coastal waters of the Bering Sea, and is powered by twin 300 HP Yamaha outboards. It features a custom-designed bow for cutting through the rough seas and is equipped with all the pump, sluice and crane systems needed to conduct its gold dredging mission.
"This was a fun project, in that we were able to learn quite a bit about the gold dredging business, the unique equipment involved with it, all while applying the engineering skills we enjoy," said Ben Anderson, Naval Architect and Project Manager for Art Anderson Associates.
Interest in offshore gold dredging has grown significantly, driven by high gold prices, recent offshore lease sales by the State of Alaska, and the popularity of TV programs such as the Discovery Channel's Bering Sea Gold.
The lease sales have driven a higher degree of professionalism among dredging companies, with the result that many builders are now more directly engaging engineering consultants like Art Anderson Associates. Pacifica Project Manager Rod Gleysteen illustrated this trend in an email, saying "I am guessing that we are the first people to ever spend five dollars to have a marine engineer look at the rig."