#DredgingDrogheda - Most ships serve a career spanning three-four decades, however Hebble Sand still remains in service more than half a century later and in the same role since 1963, as a dredger carrying out her latest work at Drogheda Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the 757 tonnes Hebble Sand was sold to Abco Marine in 2012 following her sale by Dublin Port Company, has been working along the banks of the Boyne between the town quays and out to the mouth of the river. In recent years Londonderry Harbour Commissioners suction-dredger Lough Foyle has been contracted to carry out this work.
When sold to Abco Marine, the veteran grab-hopper dredger headed for Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre, however during her previous career with Dundalk Port Company until she and company assets were transferred to Dublin Port Company, the dredger worked in other Irish ports, harbours and for marine infrastructure projects such as the Samuel Beckett swing-bridge in Dublin.
Remarkably despite serving a career over five decades, she still retains her original name since her launch from Richard (Shipbuilders) of Lowestoft who built her for British Dredging.
So with less than two months to go, Drogheda's town quays will be hosting The Irish Maritime Festival (13, 14 and 15 June) and which is to welcome six tallships, among them the 110 year old, Bessie Ellen. She is only one of three remaining classic West Country trading ketches from over 600 such traditional sail cargoships that traded in Irish Sea and also to Scandinavia.
By coincidence, Bessie Ellen and Hebble Sand participated at the last Dublin Docklands Maritime Festival held in 2010, where the vessel which was kept in very good condition was open to the public.
Her presence along the Liffey was a most unusual vessel to have welcoming visitors during that tallships festival and such efforts should be encouraged to broaden the mix of vessels for the public to experience.