How Deep Thy Ships?

There’s a public infrastructure we don’t see, and that’s the channels dredged under ships coming to port.

While offering dredges for sale to the Philippines, I remember a story of Ferdinand Marco’s brother, perhaps only a story, while in charge of Manila’s port dredging. If he liked a company, dredges were regularly sent out to move silt and assure a port of call. If a company didn’t ‘meet his terms’, an underwater mountain was raised near their slips and no ship could pass. It was said that Manila’s hydrographic survey moved on a whim and a bank deposit. Ingenious?

765 blog is looking at a new project on an old claw of land in Baltimore. It has all the issues.

Erosion is constantly filling the harbor and the bay. For centuries, dredging has been the invisible accompaniment of transport and logistics. More and more things need to be moved, ships get bigger, channels get deeper, and spoils from dredge are used to build new land and new terminals for larger vessels, which then create even more turbulent churn. Shipping, development, erosion, wakes, and dredging are then caught in a feedback loop, each link in the circle generating more of the next.

Dredging and Port Construction is a large industry.

Dredging and Port Construction Magazine Ships require deep channels that fill with silt only to require removal. It’s a permanent task. Hundreds of millions of tons of material must be removed. Today’s port dredges are huge machines that travel from contract to contract or berth nearby larger ports. Great volumes of silt are generated, including millions of tons of toxic plumes. Dredging silt pollutes large regions

Billions of tons of sand and soils move along our coasts too. Tides push soils and sand in and out of coastlines and up and down rivers. Sand is migrating roughly parallel to the shore and deposited by ocean currents. As materials migrate, we build perpendicular jetty and groin while dredges pump material back toward shore.
Dredging depth of ships