After almost eight months of dredging the Mississippi River, the Dredge Hurley and crew are now home where the Hurley is docked at Ensley Engineer Yard for some much-needed repairs and maintenance.
Adrian Pirani, Dredge Hurley master, said the crew successfully removed a little more than 8 million cubic yards of sediment this season. The season was shorter than last year due to the Hurley needing maintenance done while on a larger dry dock down south earlier this year.
"Last year was a highly productive season, with the Hurley dredging more than 12.5 million cubic yards," Pirani said. "That ended one of the two most productive dredging seasons in the vessel's history."
Over the winter, the dredge will remain in Memphis for maintenance work.
"After about six to eight months of dredging, all that sediment material wears out the equipment from the inside out," Pirani said. "So, maintenance crews will primarily work on repairing and replacing most of the dustpan and suction side pipes."
The dredge was built in 1993 and in those days, had the ability to dredge up to 40 feet deep.
"After a few years in service, everyone realized the need to lengthen the dredge so it could reach deeper," Pirani said. "This is to help big water commerce at the lower end of the river."
In the late '90s, the Corps developed plans to lengthen the dredge from 205 to 353 feet. This update would enable the dredge to dig up to 75 feet deep.
That major update and several others enabled the Hurley to better serve the Memphis District and several other districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We've dug for MVS (St. Louis District in Missouri), MVM (Memphis District here in Tennessee), MVK (Vicksburg District in Mississippi), and MVN (New Orleans District in Louisiana) since she came out," Pirani added.
This season, the Hurley dredged in Twenty Grand Point, Morgan City, Louisiana, four times in Redeye Crossing Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Victoria Bend Rosedale, Mississippi, Winchester Towhead New Madrid, Missouri, Tunica Bluff St. Francisville, Louisiana, Wilkinson Point Port Allen, Louisiana, Sardine Point Crossing Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge City Front, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The Hurley's last stop just before returning home was Redeye in Baton Rouge City, Louisiana, where they moved just over 6 million cubic yards of sediment.
Pirani does love his job and the Hurley, but he and the crew were very happy to be home finally, and just in time for the holidays at that.
"Memphis is home to me and so many others, so having pride in helping this area stay open, especially for grain, is special to me," Pirani said. "The Hurley is an amazing piece of equipment, so I feel fortunate to work on her and take care of her, as she's been great to me and is a real blessing."
Thank you, Hurley crew, and again, welcome home!