Este monstuo especializado en el corte y triturado de rocas, es colocado en una posicion fija mediante unos enormes pilotes de sujeccion que permiten dragados hasta en profundidades de 35 metros. Una vez consolidada la posición, la maquina oscila y se mueve en angulo utilizando para ello sus anclas. Con una extension a proa que bascula hacia el fondo y movidas por unos motores eléctricos, las "muelas" de la nave, adaptadas a cada tipo de terreno, se encargan de realizar el trabajo de demolido y succión del material.
En este proyecto, la actividad se limitó a triturar las rocas devolviendolas de nuevo al fondo de la ria de donde eran extraidas por la draga de succion "Antigoon". En otras ocasiones se encadenan una serie de elementos flotantes que llegan a constituir tuberias de hasta 4 km a traves de las que se expulsa hacia el exterior, fuera de la zona, el meterial dragado.
En esta dirección, pueden verse más imagenes y un video de la botadura de "la bestia"
La prensa de Avilés se ha hecho amplio eco de su estancia y de la visita que pudo realizarse a la misma el pasado dia uno de Enero. Así, "La Voz de Avilés" decia a su llegada:
Apenas pasaban unos minutos de las tres de la tarde cuando la ría de Avilés recibía a 'D'Artagnan', la draga cortadora más grande, potente y moderna del mundo. Propulsada por sus propios motores y escoltada por el remolcador 'Joaquim Ruyra', la nave fue surcando las aguas del canal.
Entró con ímpetu por la bocana del puerto, como reivindicando su presencia ante los curiosos que se acercaron a darle la bienvenida, pero fue suavizando su marcha de forma gradual. Primero, para trazar con elegancia la curva de Pachico, tras la cual se encontró con la que será su compañera de trabajo durante los próximos días, la draga succionadora 'Antigoon'. Y después, para acercarse a la zona sur del muelle de Aceralia, donde atracó finalmente, no sin antes 'saludar' a la escultura 'Avilés', símbolo de la ciudad que la recibe.
Su construccion en Holanda se verá acompañada por la de otros dos barcos en Francia, "ARamis" y "Buckinham" ascendiendo el projecto de construcción de los 3 a 108 millones de Euros
Sobre esta draga botada en Abril de 2005, la página especializada Dredging. com ( Dragado) venía a decir lo siguiente:
21 October 2005
On Friday 21st October 2005, the most powerful self-propelled and ocean-going cutter suction dredger in the world was christened in Dunkirk, France. The mighty 38.000 HP "d’Artagnan" is named after the famous character in Alexandre Dumas’ novel "The Three Musketeers." Together with d’Artagnan, two auxiliary vessels, "Aramis" and "Buckingham" were also christened at the same ceremony. The three vessels will sail under French colours and are owned and operated by "Société de Dragage International" (SDI), the French subsidiary of Belgian "Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering" (DEME) Group.
The importance of the event was revealed in the persons of the three godmothers at the naming ceremony. For d’Artagnan Mrs. Ann Peeters-De Smedt, the spouse of the Flemish Minister for Public Works, Energy, the Environment and Nature, took the honour. The name of Buckingham was given by Mrs. Fabienne Ackermans, a direct descendant of the founders of Ackermans & van Haaren-Group and the spouse of Mr. Luc Bertrand, chairman of the Board of Directors at DEME. Aramis was christened by Mrs. Virginie Mennesson, the spouse of Mr. Renaud Bentégeat, CEO at general contractor Compagne d’Entreprises CFE. Both AvH and CFE are the shareholders of DEME.
Development and construction of the three dredging vessels represent a record investment of € 106 million. The concept of d’Artagnan was developed by DEME’s in-house Newbuilding Division, together with IHC in the Netherlands were the vessel was built. Aramis and Buckingham were built at Socarenam in Boulogne, France.
The name of d’Artagnan is inspired by the virtues that literature has traditionally associated with the leading character in Alexandre Dumas’ "The Three Musketeers": courageous, skilful, reliable and successful. Having defied the intrigues of cardinal Richelieu, d’Artagnan succeeded in recovering the jewels of the French queen from the Earl of Buckingham in England. He did so with the loyal help of Aramis, one of the three Musketeers.
The naming ceremony was attended by over 700 guests from all over the world, including major clients of DEME from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Two prominent guests of honour were present: a representative of the mayor of Lupiac in Gascony, France, the village where d’Artagnan was born in 1611 and where the mayor, Mr. Rispat, today lives in the original Chateau de Castelmore of the 17th century hero. Mr. de Montesquiou is the Chairman of the Directoire de Guyenne et Gascogne and is a descendant of d’Artagnan’s mother, Françoise de Montesquiou.
As the flagship vessel of DEME’s cutter suction dredger (CSD) fleet enters service, a completely new standard of dredging technology is set. With d’Artagnan, DEME confirms its reputation as an industry leader for innovation and development. Launching "Pearl River" as the first so-called ‘jumbo’ trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) in 1994, the Belgian Group already showed the way for what later became a completely new generation of TSHD’s.
As a self-propelled and ocean-going CSD, d’Artagnan belongs to a very special and indeed small category of CSD’s that are able to operate in open waters and estuaries. On the open market for major dredging projects, there are only eight self-propelled and sea-going CSD’s in the whole world. D’Artagnan is the most powerful of them all. DEME-Group owns or operates three of these eight sea-going CSD’s.
Even more peculiar is the fact that d’Artagnan belongs to a new generation of mega CSD’s, as well by the mere size of its dimension and mass, as by its innovative concept. The 124 metres long dredger can generate an unsurpassed cutting power of 6.000 kW or 8.150 HP, allowing for dredging in hard rock at locations that could previously not be deepened. Performance is further improved by increasing total pumping power to 15.4 MW or 20,950 HP.
Major technological innovations in d’Artagnan, all of them patented, include the combination of the normal sand-cutter head with a smaller rock-cutter head, which, because of increased torque, significantly increases cutting power on one hand, and the completely new, buffered spud carriage which allows for variable stiffness in the spud system on the other. This variable stiffness is made possible by an elaborate wire system and hydraulic cylinders. By purpose, a spud system must be stiff to allow for high cutting forces. But as vessels follow the movements of long waves, this stiffness becomes a major handicap when dredging in bad weather and heavy swell. D’Artagnan has overcome this traditional handicap of CSD’s by way of the variable stiffness design of its spud carriage.
The innovative concept of the variable stiffness makes dredging in heavy swell more sustainable. Most importantly, this increases the overall workability of d’Artagnan as idle days are reduced and dredging hours are increased. Compared with conventional CSD’s, d’Artagnan’s workability is 20 to 25 per cent higher. It has been calculated that the gross cost per m³ will be only 85 per cent of that of the cutter dredgers of the previous generation.
By contrast to other CSD’s, d’Artagnan combines the best of two, somewhat opposed technology approaches – giving unseen versatility. Common CSD’s are either designed for dredging hard rock, which requires high cutting forces at the expense of output, or for dredging sand and soft clay, which is focused at optimizing the pump output at the expense of cutting power. With the help of a dedicated frame between the side parts of the on-board cutterhead working platform, d’Artagnan is able to smoothly change suction mouths which are specifically designed for working in a rock or in a sand/clay environment. Changing suction mouths is normally one of the most difficult and time-consuming procedures on board a CSD. The smooth replacing procedure allows d’Artagnan for changing suction mouths even in rougher sea states, increasing autonomy which has also been improved in other respects.
Thanks to her extremely high cutting power, her performance in heavy swell, and her versatility for operating in both rock and sand/clay, the unique characteristics of d’Artagnan will create new markets. Ports that could not be deepened beyond the rocky nautical bottom, will now become dredgeable. The vessel will also be able to better operate in the surf zone; at landfalls, trench dredging and offshore constructions; and for the building of LNG-terminals in estuaries and open waters.
D’Artagnan is to start his career in the French port of Bayonne shortly. Subsequently new assignments await in Southern Europe and in the Middle East.
Based in Lambersart, France, Société de Dragage International (SDI) is the French subsidiary of Belgian "Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering" (DEME) Group. The Belgian Group has an annual turnover of € 750 million and an order book of more than € 1 billion. DEME is a world leader in dredging and land reclamation. Other activities include offshore works, soil remediation, sludge recycling, landfilling, coastal protection, salvage, and marine gravel winning and processing. The Group is active on the five continents, has a multicultural staff of 3.000, and operates a fleet of 75 highly specialised dredgers, which are supplemented by a variety of auxiliary vessels. DEME Group is owned by the Belgian investment company Ackermans & van Haaren, and by general contractor CFE, which is controlled by the French Group Vinci.