Stuck in the mud

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Dredging operations 2020
Dredger on mudbank late at night

Residents of Rock Channel were disturbed late last Saturday, March 21, by a commotion in the river. A dredger (though this one stirs rather than scoops) had got stuck in the mud around 11pm near Rock Channel Quay, before being pulled off successfully by a fishing boat.

Operations were then resumed through the night along the stretch of river between the boat yard and the Boathouse flats. Next day the vessel moved to Strand Quay, where the main photo (above) was taken.

As reported and described in Rye News in 2015 and again in 2018 on its return visit, the vessel is not strictly a dredger. Its modus operandi is to use a high pressure hose to stir up the mud and rely upon the tidal flow to carry off the silt down river and to the sea.

The technology was developed by the Van Oord company of Utrecht, Netherlands and uses the smallest vessel in their fleet.

In previous years, it was normal practice to dredge the mud every three years. However the Environment Agency undertook the work at this time because the silt has been building up and Strand Quay was relatively clear following the removal of warship RML526 (which sank at its moorings).

In addition several pleasure craft had also been removed from the water at Strand Quay for winter storage and overhaul.

The opportunity was taken to move four or five fishing boats round to Strand Quay to allow the Fish Quay to also be dredged.

Image Credits: Christopher Royle .

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