During most off seasons, maintaining the Hurley takes a few months and a couple of crews to get everything done. This off-season was a bit different, as unexpected weather posed more obstacles than usual.
Much of the south, including Memphis, Tennessee, was hit hard with frigid temperatures in mid-February this year. The last time Memphians experienced weather like this was in 1994.
From frozen pipes to no electricity, many people and structures were impacted by the icy weather, including the district’s Dredge Hurley.
“The lack of electricity and ice did major damage to the “Number 1” and “Number 3” main generators, HVAC chiller system, and potable water system,” 1st Mate Pipeline Dredge Shawn Rogers said. “Additionally, the ice damaged the marine sanitation system and oil cooling systems for the main pump reduction gear, and there were a few frozen pipes in the galley and inside quarters of the dredge.”
Rogers said both tenders (Motor Vessel Lusk and Motor Vessel Ward) also experienced damage, which included cooling systems, keel coolers, potable water, sanitation systems, the main engines, generators, and fire and bilge pumps.
“The initial thaw took around four days as we were using portable heaters,” Rogers said. “Then it took another ten days or so for the rest of the dredge to thaw out.”
Once the vessel thawed out, Rogers said multiple crews got to work to repair and replace numerous valves, busted pipes, and the main engine’s block heaters.
“The initial time for repairs was going to be around three weeks, but we still had some things showing up that needed to be addressed, so we had to get back on dry dock for an extra week.”
With all that damage, getting the right people together to repair the machinery was crucial. With all the expertise available at Ensley Engineer Yard, it’s no doubt that there were more than enough people willing to help get this asset up and running again.
“We had a lot of crew members go above and beyond by working long hours the first couple of days,” Rogers started.
Those individuals were Chief Engineer Mike Temple and Marine Maintenance Mechanic Ron Tuggle. Also working hard were Deckhand Emmanual Amaefule, Hurley Electrician Darrell Clark, 1st Assistant Engineer Chris Dubie, Hurley Electrician David Hayward, Deckhand Paul O’Neal, Master Tender Operator Chris Roberts, 1st Assistant Engineer Tom Schmidt, Marine Maintenance Mechanic Level 10 Justin Sides, 2nd Mate Chase Tolliver, Marine Maintenance Mechanic Level 10 Tim Tuggle, Steward/Cook Andrew Williams, Marine Machinery Mechanic Patrick Yates and numerous other crew.
Additionally, the Metal and Plate Shop assisted the dredge crew with repairs. Those workers included Metal Worker/Welder Leader Randy Channell, Metal Worker/Welder Wes Anthony, Welder Justin Wright, and Welder Noah Sheffield. In addition to the Metal and Plate Shop, the Carpenter/Pipe Shop also assisted. They were Pipe Fitter Roosevelt Williamson, Air Conditioning Mechanic Brian Libby, Electrician Mike Bradley, Air Conditioning Mechanic Zach Lee, HVAC Mechanic Javareos Pitchford, Electrician Jason Pruett, and Electrician Leaderman Cory Roberts.
Now that the Dredge Hurley is thawed and repaired, it’s ready to dredge the Mississippi River, and is scheduled to start within the next two weeks.
Several experienced workers are responsible for getting this dredge from point A to point B safely and effectively. And just in case there’s ever an issue needing fixing along the way, the dredge staff has it covered.
“We have electricians, engineers, mechanics, mates, deckhands, masters and assistant masters, stewards, and cooks aboard the dredge at all times during dredging season,” Rogers explained. “The electricians are responsible for anything needing electricity, engineers are responsible for everything in the engine room, mechanics help the engineers with whatever is needed, and mates take care of deck equipment and replace cable/wire rope whenever needed.”
Rogers continued saying, “Deckhands are responsible for cleaning, painting, and taking care of the dredge in general, and the dredge master and assistant master are responsible for getting the dredge to where it needs to go. There are cooks on board also -- can’t forget about them! And the steward is responsible for cooks and administrative responsibilities. It’s definitely a team effort aboard the dredge. We all help each other.”
The district is thankful to all the skilled workers responsible for getting the Hurley back up and running again. And of course, best of luck to the entire Dredge Hurley team as they venture out to execute one of the Memphis District’s most important missions: keeping the river open and safe for all of America’s business to travel.