Huta Marine
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 Mighty boost to Saudi Construction Capability October 2009

Sakab Dredger Launch

A new and powerful addition to Saudi Arabia’s coastal construction capability took to the water in Rotterdam on Monday October 5. The world’s biggest in class static cutter suction dredger, with a contract to design and construct signed by the Saudi Huta Group with IHC in early 2007 and whose keel was laid on December 19, 2008, eased down the slipway to the cheers of a large crowd of invited guests and IHC shipyard staff and their families.

In the best maritime tradition, Al Sakab was named and launched by the ship’s two ‘godmothers’ Britta and Sylvia Wuebbens and, as a mark of respect to the traditions and culture of the Kingdom, instead of champagne, a crystal bottle of rosewater was broken over her bows to mark the occasion.

H.E. Amr Dabbagh, Chairman of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), addressing the guests said that the Al Sakab project was of great importance to Saudi Arabia, particularly as a shipyard in the Netherlands contributed to it.

“The Netherlands is an important strategic partner for Saudi Arabia and is the 18th largest exporter to and 10th biggest importer from the Kingdom. We believe that Holland can offer a great deal more in core competencies and expertise to projects available today in Saudi Arabia.” He added that he looked forward to growing engagement between Dutch companies and the Kingdom.

Dabbagh said that SAGIA had profiled $600 billion worth of infrastructure projects in the Kingdom between now and 2020 of which almost $100 billion was transportation related for development of future and upgrades of existing seaports, airports, highways and railways. “This is one of the core competencies of corporate Holland that we would like to be engaged with in the development of the transportation sector in Saudi Arabia.”

Commenting on the ease of doing business in the Kingdom, Dabbagh referred to the Ease of Doing Business report issued by the World Bank that placed the Kingdom at 13th in the world in 2009 – a very significant move upwards from 67th position in 2005.

“That means we are open for business,” he said. “I shall be eager to see the arrival of Al Sakab in Saudi Arabia. It will sail to a very important project that is close to our hearts, the development of the port of King Abdullah Economic City.”

“The Saudi population and economy are growing at the fastest rates in the world creating needs for development, for merchant ports and expansion of industrial marine installations,” said Saleh Binladin, Chairman of the Huta Group. “All these factors were considered and positively influenced the decision to proceed with the huge investment into building Al Sakab.”

The Kingdom is positioned on two of the world’s busiest shipping routes, the Red Sea and the oil-heavy Gulf route.

Binladin said that Saudi Arabia was currently developing four economic cities to increase the competitiveness of the Saudi economy and expand its industrial base. They had already attracted more than $80 billion in investments, will house 2 million people and create a million job opportunities.

“Huta Marine is proud to be one of the main contractors entrusted with the construction and dredging work in King Abdullah Economic City and playing an important part in making this vision become reality,” he said.

Michael Wuebbens, Managing Director of Huta, said that in 1996 the company first entered the marine dredging sector and is now the dominant contractor in the region. “This dredger will further strengthen that position,” he said.

Mr Kips, Managing Director of the IHC shipyard that constructed Al Sakab, said that the fitting out the dredger with the complex cutting, positioning and environmental systems will take place over the next three to four months and Al Sakab will arrive ready for work in the Kingdom in early March 2010.

Carrying a crew of 28 and with full self support systems including desalination and waste disposal units, Al Sakab can operate independently for long periods. 124.5 meters long and over 3,500 tons displacement, she can produce 22,000 horsepower to drive the massive cutting and dredging equipment on board. This gives her the capability to remove in excess of 20,000 cubic meters of rock a day, depending on local conditions, and deposit it, pumped by pipeline, up to five kilometres away.

The cutter suction dredger arm can carve out bedrock to a depth of 25 meters from the surface, more than adequate for the new generation of container super-carriers that will use King Abdullah Economic City port.

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