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SMS Group refit ‘Arco Dart’ at Bristol Port

Arco Dart marine aggregates dredger

Specialist marine engineering services provider completes first aggregates dredger refit of 2021

MARKING a successful start to the year, Southampton-based SMS Group have completed a D-Class refit of Hanson Marine’s Arco Dart aggregates dredger in a Covid-secure environment within the footprint of The Bristol Port Company, in Avonmouth, Bristol.

SMS Group specialize in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the commercial marine, defence, cruise and superyacht sectors, and their team in Avonmouth routinely focus on aggregates dredgers, refitting three or four vessels per annum at a site capable of handling the most demanding alongside repair and refit schedules.


Hanson Marine – Europe’s largest producers of marine-dredged sand and gravel – operate a fleet of purpose-built trailing suction hopper dredgers that vary in size from 1,300 to 5,500 gross tonnes and are designed to operate at seabed depths of up to 50m. Arco Dart, which has an overall length (LOA) of 68m, a beam of 13m and draft of 4m, was refitted in January.

The work included: shell plate and stiffener renewals and repairs, manufacture and installation of new life raft frames, modifications to breather pipework, removal and renewal of dredge pipe assemblies, biannual hydraulics works, motor rewinds and replacements, renewal of port-side mooring bollards, various machining projects, electrical works to the main switchboard, bilge cleaning, and various pipework. Other planned and preventative maintenance was carried out at the same time, resulting in a comprehensive repair schedule.

Alistair Rockett, general manager of SMS Avonmouth, said: ‘The refit, the first of the year for us in Avonmouth, was a great success. Special thanks are due to Antonios Chatzistefanou from Hanson. Both he and his team ensured the refit ran very smoothly. Given the Covid ‘challenge’, all parties, the crew and the supply chain genuinely pulled together to complete the refit on time and on budget.’

Tony Body, SMS Group’s West Coast regional manager, added: ‘Creating a Covid-secure environment was key. We tested every person prior to vessel attendance, numerous sanitization stations were positioned throughout the vessel, mask wearing was mandatory, additional mess facilities were procured, and daily Covid questionnaires were completed. The expertise in Covid-secure ship repair that we’ve learnt as a business in the defence and cruise sectors, transferred to this refit very well. We finished off by bio-fogging the vessel pre-handover.’


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