The Art of Dredging

Dredging and shipping

TSHD Sanderus, out.

This summer, my brother sailed through the Ghent docks, and shot these pics of trailer dredger SANDERUS, 5300 m3 hopper, 8770 ton deadweight, build by IHC (Scheepswerf De Klop, NL) in 1967, and owned by JDN. 

These are probably the last pictures taken of “SANDERUS”; she lays alongside a scrapyard. This is the end.

The Sanderus was a pioneering dredger –and for nearly fifty years- part of the fleet of dredgers with JDN; ...the great-grandmother of all other trailers.

The most remarkable on these photo's, is that she still looks good, 

decently painted, somebody must have taken good care, until the end. 

She is much like an old lady.

                                                    Photos: Luc Van de Velde


I spent six months on board this ship, way back, in 1990. 

The SANDERUS was –then- employed in maintenance dredging in Zeebrugge. 

It was already an old ship, in the nineties. 

As a chief mate, I had to handle that huge wooden steering wheel and make do with other antiquated stuff. It felt like a night in the museum.

In June 1990, the SANDERUS had a collision with a feedervessel -SLOMAN RIDER- off Zeebrugge. 

The SLOMAN RIDER ploughed its bow in the engineroom of SANDERUS.

...Well... that is: the hullplate of SANDERUS was a bit dented, but SLOMAN RIDER lost its bow, ... and limped back to port. 

Lesson learnt: SANDERUS was a very solid ship..

                                                      Photos: Jan De Nul Group

I should have known better…and not underestimate "that old ship".

Much later, this ship went on a world trip, ...Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Argentina, Poland, … SANDERUS went global, and the darn thing dredged higher efficiencies than younger dredgers, because of it's very basic and rugged equipment. 

We, crew, on the modern ships, could only dream of that level of reliability and dependability.

SANDERUS just survived, and thrived, for another 25 years.

Ninety seconds at Zeebrugge

SANDERUS had a brush with history, during one of the most significant ship disasters of the past century:

On March 6th, 1987, the “Herald of Free Enterprise” capsized off Zeebrugge. 

SANDERUS was close by, and the watchmen on SANDERUS were amongst the very few people who eye-witnessed the ferry capsize.

The officer called the captain, informed Zeebrugge-port of the accident, speeded up to to the capsized HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE, and did what seamen do in such moments: go, help. 

SANDERUS rescued the first forty survivors from the water.


                                                 Source: "Ninety seconds at Zeebrugge"


november 2016 

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