Anchors Away


An early preconstruction step during the building of Freeport LNG's regas facility back in 2006 was dredging in the dock basin. This work expanded and deepened the marine slip to accommodate LNG tankers, instead of the smaller barges for which it had been originally created. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company was contracted to perform the work, and the cutter-head suction dredge barge "Texas" was towed in for the job.


The Purpose of Dredge Anchors

This barge used a system of spuds (i.e., long, massive stakes) that are driven into the seabed to position the dredge and to allow pivoting it and its cutter head from side to side. A suction hose removed the material loosened by the rotating cutter head. A pair of cables was run from the front of the barge to a pair of large ship's anchors set to port and starboard of the dredge barge and in front of the dredging pathway. The barge winched the cable in or out to create the desired side-to-side arced cut.

After each area was excavated, the dredge repositioned itself forward by moving a spud that operated in a slot in the hull, running fore to aft. Once the spud reached its furthest aft position, it was raised and moved back to the front to repeat the "walking" operation. When the dredge found itself with its anchors close abeam, they were moved to a new position approximately 30 degrees forward of the beam, and work resumed.

Great Lakes' Anchors Discovered

Eight years after dock basin dredging was complete, the liquefaction project construction manager Mike Fletcher discovered, in heavy brush along the site for the new tanker dock, the pair of ship’s anchors that had been used by the "Texas" in 2006. There was some initial discussion of restoring the anchors: sand blasting, painting and putting them on display in front of the future new administration building at the terminal. The costs, however, proved to be prohibitively expensive, and so Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company was contacted. "Do you want your anchors?" inquired Tony Galt, marine operations manager at Freeport LNG. "Oh, yeah, we can use them!" they replied.

Great Lakes sent a barge with a crane, put the barge up to the shoreline and picked the two anchors up. "And then," remarked Mike Fletcher, "any thoughts of having anchors in front of the new administration building were out the window—or maybe more like out to sea."