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Williams Shipping Assist Boskalis in Southampton Dredging Project


Boskalis had been contracted to dredge the swinging ground at the DP World Container Terminal in Southampton Docks over a period of 5 weeks.

They used their backhoe dredger “Odin”. With this sophisticated dredger they can remove material very precisely. She will then load four non-propelled Split Hopper Barges which will in turn be towed to the NAB or Hurst disposal site.

The tugs involved are the Jersey Ports Dutchess and Duke of Normandy, Holyhead Towing’s Afon Wen and Boskalis’s own Terranmare 1.

The Port of Southampton is perfectly placed on the south coast. Close by to not only major shipping lanes, but also to rail and motorway links makes Southampton Britain’s gateway to the world. The port is the UK’s number 1 export port. An essential link in supply chains for businesses and manufacturers.

Southampton Container Terminal is managed by DP World. Since 2014 with the opening of its 5th terminal, Southampton is now capable of handling the largest container vessels in the world. This is also helped by Southampton’s unique “double tide” which creates a longer tidal window. Southampton Container Terminal Facts:

  • Can berth vessels of up to 430 meters in length;

  • 92 KM of deep water quayside;

  • 17 quayside cranes;

  • A Fleet of hybrid straddle carriers.


It was a requirement of the port that a powerful, standby tug was available 24/7 throughout the dredging operation to provide immediate towage assistance as and when required.

Williams Shipping provided “Willpower”, a Damen Stantug 2207, with 2000hp and nearly 30tonne bollard pull. She is an extremely versatile vessel, highly manoeuvrable and very powerful as well as having a large clear deck and deck mounted hydraulic crane. She was not only capable of manoeuvring the Odin and the split Hopper barges in the event of an immediate requirement, but also capable of providing supplies, equipment and other support services to all the vessels involved in this project.

She was on standby 24/7 and was crewed by a highly experienced Williams Shipping team including Steve, James, Rob, Lee, Osian and Jamie.

Moored at Williams Shipping’s marine base at the Empress docks, she could quickly deploy to the container terminal and approaches as needed. Williams’ marine base also provides 200 metres of quayside including 100m deep water berthing, quayside craneage, forklift trucks, under cover and open storage, 24 hour security and lighting which has proved invaluable to the Boskalis team.


As part of the dredging project, it was necessary to move some of the buoys/channel markers in the area:

  • Swinging ground no. 10 buoy had to be moved temporarily 50 metres for approximately 72 hours. This allowed for the ongoing dredging operations at Southampton Container Terminal. The buoy will then be returned;

  • The Eling East Cardinal buoy was moved permanently approx. 40m from its current position to its new location. This is to mark the new channel profile and tug shelf in Southampton Container Terminal following the dredging operations.

This buoy work was carried out by Willchallenge, a 2021 built Neptune Euro Carrier 2209 multi- purpose work boat. With 120h and a 185 tonne hydraulic crane.

She & her crew of 4 were deployed to lift the buoys, chains and sinkers on deck, pressure wash, inspect and re-lay. The buoys were re-positioned at the correct long/lat as supplied by ABP Hydrographers.

WILLIAMS SHIPPING TRANSPORT’S INVOLVEMENT It became necessary for one of the hydraulic cylinder rams from the Odin to be collected for repairing. Williams Shipping were once again able to provide an easy solution. While their vessel Willchallenge collected the ram and delivered it to their marine base, Williams’ transport division, based in Millbrook, and which operate a fleet of 20 trucks and specialist trailers, were able to collect the ram from Williams’ marine base for onward delivery to a specialist hydraulics company for repair.

The Rams dimensions were 6m in length and 5.5tonnes. It was easily loaded, secured and redelivered by Williams Shippings’ experienced transport team.

This type of project demonstrates how teamwork plays an important part in completion of a successful project with all divisions working in unison to keep a complicated and time sensitive project on track.

For more information on their projects, or if you are after a similar solution, contact Williams Shipping.

023 8023 7330


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