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Why was one of the tugs dredging the Cape Fear River so noisy?

Ken Little

Q. The crew that is dredging the river has a tug and barge that haul the dirt and sediment out to sea for disposal. The tug they are using is the loudest boat on the river! It comes through day or night and could wake the dead! The Moran tugs go up and down and we don’t even know they are there. How about a new Midas muffler or a different tug?

A. The dredging project was completed several weeks ago, so the river should be quiet once again, said Bob Keistler, navigation project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District.

Initial information from the Corps of Engineers about job contractor led to some confusion about who was doing the work.

The contractor is Norfolk Dredging Co. of Chesapeake, Va.

Company officials were not available on Feb. 7 to address the question about the noisy tug.

Keistler said the dredging work concentrated on two areas: Wilmington Harbor in the area of the Port of Wilmington, and the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point.

The work was conducted around the clock. Trips were made by tugs and barges down the Cape Fear River to a spot about seven miles offshore where the dredge material was deposited, Keistler said.

“It’s a 24-hour operation. (Tugs) take maybe three trips a day. It’s a four- or five-hour round trip,” he said. “We finished a couple of weeks ago.”

The dredging work is important to the safety of vessels operating at the state port and Sunny Point, Keistler said.

The Corps of Engineers has no oversight over contractors when it comes to noise, spokesman Hank Heusinkveld said.

“All we do is manage the folks on the river. It’s kind of out of our hands,” he said. “We don’t have anything in our contract for noise.”

Heusinkveld was told by a project manager that another company was the contractor on the dredging project, leading to a delay in identifying Norfolk Dredging as the tug operator.

Contractors working on Corps-authorized projects like dredging must adhere to terms of the contact, Heusinkveld said. But no provisions exist governing noise, he added.

“If they’re still doing some dredging on the river, there’s no way we can tell them what to do (about noise),” he said. “It’s not us.”


Why didn’t the Carolina Beach renourishment project take sand from the boating channel in the inlet?

Who owns the islands between Wilmington and the mouth of the Cape Fear River?








User-contributed question by:
Bill Haren

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One Response to “ Why was one of the tugs dredging the Cape Fear River so noisy?”

  1. On February 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm Jer wrote:

    I live near the State Ports and often hear boats with loud motors and horns blowing in the wee hours of the morning. There has been a lot of activity on the river recently.

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