China is currently constructing the world’s initial dredger equipped with a 10,000kW reamer. The Tianjin Waterway Bureau, which possesses the world’s most potent dredger fleet, is undertaking the construction of this vessel, as indicated by the South China Morning Post.
Dredgers are seafaring vessels that can drill through the rocky bed of rivers or oceans, subsequently gathering the debris to transport through a pipeline to another location. The reamer is a crucial piece of equipment in this process, as its strength determines the dredger’s capability to penetrate the surface.
China has invested extensively in the dredging sector for the last 20 years, having already built over 200 vessels, and establishing itself as the leading manufacturer of dredgers worldwide.
Upon completion, the dredger equipped with the 10,000kW reamer will surpass the Tian Jing in power by 50 percent, which gained notoriety for aiding China in constructing artificial islands in the South China Sea.
Both dredgers are operated and owned by the Tianjin Waterway Bureau, which not only boasts the world’s most robust dredger fleet but is also a subsidiary of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).
The Celestial Whale or Tian Jing was created in collaboration with the German firm Vosta LMG and designed by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Launched in 2010, the dredger can extract 4,500 cubic meters (159,000 cubic feet) of sand hourly, and its pump can transport sand up to 3.7 miles (6 km) away.
The vessel is unique in its ability to function without auxiliary transport ships, as it can dredge and refill autonomously. The Tian Jing spent 193 days between 2013 and 2014 moving between five reefs in the South China Sea, fracturing underwater coral reefs and piling them up to establish submerged atolls in the area. Subsequently, the Chinese military-built airports, radar arrays, and missile positions in these newly constructed regions.
China then created the Tian Kun, with the capability of dredging 6,000 cubic meters per hour and sending materials 9.3 miles (15 km) away. As China strives to reinforce its dominance in the dredging sector, it is now pursuing self-sufficiency in developing essential technologies, and a more substantial dredger would demonstrate its capabilities in the immediate future.