Energy efficient dredger arrives in the Mersey

A dredger with a significantly lower carbon footprint that conventional vessels is being deployed for the first time around the Port of Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Vox Apolonia
Vox Apolonia, a dredger being used in the Mersey Estuary


Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports has deployed a new energy efficient dredger on the Mersey for the first time.

Vox Apolonia, which is owned by Dutch marine contractor Van Oord is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It has a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional trailing suction hopper dredgers.

Using LNG reduces nitrous oxide emissions by 90% as well as totally eliminating sulphur emissions. The vessel has been used for maintenance dredging of the Port of Liverpool and King George V Dock in Glasgow, also owned by Peel Ports.

Regular dredging is critical for the smooth running of ports. This process maintains or increases the depth of navigation channels, anchorages, or berthing areas by removing sediments. It ensures the safe passage of vessels.

Peel Ports Group – which is committed to being a net zero port operator by 2040 – first welcomed Vox Apolonia to the Port of Liverpool this month. It then travelled to Glasgow before returning for further work at its site in Liverpool.

Garry Doyle, Group Harbour Master at Peel Ports Group, said; “We are always looking for ways to reduce our impact on the environment across our port estate.

“We are striving to become net zero across the group by 2040, and Vox Apolonia is a step ahead in terms of its sustainability credentials.

“Maintenance dredging is vital to both support the functioning of our ports, and to provide a safe navigation for vessels passing through our waters.

“It’s important to us that we use methods that are as energy efficient as possible to do this work, and that’s why we chose Vox Apolonia for this important project.”

Van Oord also provided its new hybrid water-injection dredger Maas to the port, bunkered for the first time with a biofuel blend.

The company estimates she currently emits 40 per cent less CO2e than her predecessor whilst dredging for the port group in Liverpool.

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It comes as the firm supplied four separate vessels to carry out important dredging of the Liverpool channel and docks at the same time.

Marine Bourgeois, project manager at Van Oord, added: “We’re constantly researching and investing to bring our fleet to the next level in terms of sustainability.

“We have our own commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and Vox Apolonia is the next step towards that goal.”

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