Split-hull hopper dredgers discharge their loads from underneath the vessel by opening up – splitting – their hulls.
Work method of Split-hull hopper dredgers
A split-hull hopper is a dredging vessel whose hull is split in two halves and hinged at the deck so that the ship can open at its bottom to discharge a load of dredged material.
The split-hull works like a regular trailing suction hopper dredger. The dredger sails to the site to be dredged and lowers its drag arms, filling its hopper with the sediment with the bottom doors closed during this process.
When the hopper is full, the vessels sails to the designated disposal site. At the disposal area, the hull splits allowing the dredged material to drop into the sea. The ship then closes to return to the dredging site and the process is repeated.
The simplicity of opening the hull in this way makes the process of disposing of dredged material quick and easy. This makes split hulls attractive for use in combination with other types of dredgers.
Split-hull vessels are suitable for both for sea-going and inland projects. Since they are generally self-propelled they can easily work at sea moving from site to site, but split-hull dredgers can also be specially designed to work in shallow draught tidal inlets. The split-hull design can also be used for barges or scows.