Damen’s Second MAD 3500 Dredge Enters Service.

February 11, 2022 | Maritime | Energy Facts Staff Writer | 2min

The MAD 3500 Dredge Vessel

The second vessel of Damen’s new Marine Aggregate Dredge (MAD) 3500 class, the Hanson Thames, has now completed sea trials and entered service with its owner, building materials supplier Hanson U.K., replacing an obsolete vessel.

In designing the new class of aggregates dredges, Damen sought input from experienced operators in the sector as well as from its own repair yards, which have been maintaining dredges for many years, and its dredging mission equipment production subsidiary. As a result, while the new design is similar in size to its 20th century equivalents, the MAD 3500 is a completely new class that Damen decribes as a “quantum leap ahead,” both in the quantity of product it can carry (20% more) and lowered operational costs per tonne.

These are achieved not only by the latest propulsion systems delivering greater fuel economy, but also the ability to conduct operations while running on a single engine. It is also designed to operate 24/7 with just nine crew. At any one time, dredging can take place with only two personnel on the bridge plus an engineer on duty. Unloading the entire vessel can be achieved in just two to three hours and is fully automated.

The Damen Group is a Dutch defence, shipbuilding, and engineering conglomerate company based in Gorinchem, South Holland, the Netherlands. Though it is a major international group doing business in 120 countries, it remains a private family-owned company. (source: Wikipedia)

With ease of maintenance designed into the vessel from the earliest stages, operability is maximized. This is achieved partly through the use of modular systems that allow faulty components to be swapped out for new ones while the defective unit is sent away for testing and repair. Additionally, Damen’s Triton remote monitoring and analysis system enables continuous optimization and pre-emptive maintenance, using ship-wide sensors to deliver operational data to both the bridge and managers onshore for real-time analysis.


The Hanson Thames began her build at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania, at the end of 2019 and, while being based on the original MAD 3500 design, benefited from the experience already gained from an earlier build and had some adjustments to meet her own particular operational requirements.

The Hanson Thames was launched at Damen Galati in September 2020 with COVID-19 at its height. The project was successfully completed with minimal disruption aided by the close proximity of many of the suppliers and sub-contractors.

Key technologies on board the MAD 3500 include a modular screening tower which allows material brought up from the seabed to be sorted as it comes aboard rather than once it reaches land. This enables it to retain only the grades that are in demand while returning the rest to the seabed.

The dredge also features the Damen Offshore Bow. This fully encloses the foredeck, protecting equipment and cargo as well as delivering excellent seakeeping. The mooring system also sets a new standard. It is designed around flow lines to ensure safe and efficient mooring at all times, and the addition of telescopic spud poles enables the MAD 3500 to hold position without the use of lines or the need for constant adjustment.